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Behind the wall in Kobus Moolman’s <i>A Book of Rooms</i>

Karen Jennings


Kobus Moolman prefaces A Book of Rooms with a quote by Georges Perec. The quote details the irrevocability of the past through memory. However, both Perec and Moolman not only recover memory, but are able to do so in great detail, specifically through thorough catalogic descriptions of spaces and objects that surround them in the domestic realm. Analysis of these catalogic descriptions forms the key component of this article. The structure of Moolman’s work, with different rooms used to demarcate different sections, and the significance of objects, further contribute towards his project of recovering the irrevocable. Comparison of Moolman’s project with that of Perec, with reference to Bachelard’s thoughts on the home, serves in the analysis of how the self is related to the concept of a house, with its many rooms in which are stored those things which contribute to an individual’s sense of identity. The generation of narrative via description and cataloguing of these various domestic objects and events is considered, with specific focus given to the ‘bed’ as it plays a significant role in the formation of the self and the recollection of memories.

Keywords: Bachelard, catalogic description, domestic sphere, Kobus Moolman, Georges Perec