Disturbances of cultural memory-screen memories, false recognitions, premonitions-disrupt the comfort zone of memorial culture: strictly speaking, deja vu is neither a failure of memory r a form of forgetting. Krapp's analysis of such disturbances in literature, art, and mass media introduces, historicizes, and theorizes what it means to speak of an ecomy of attention or distraction. Reaching from the early psychoanalytic texts of Sigmund Freud to the plays of Heiner Muller, this exploration of the effects of deja vu pivots around the work of Walter Benjamin and includes readings of kitsch and aura in Andy Warhol's work, of cinematic violence and certain exaggerated claims about shooting and cutting, of the memorial character of architecture, and of the high expectations raised by the Internet.
Peter Krapp, lecturer in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, coedited Medium Cool, a special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly on contemporary media theory. He has published in the fields of German studies, media studies, and literary theory and, since 1995, has acted as editor of the Hydra Web site for theories of literature and media.