Date of Award

Spring 1996

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Thesis

Degree Name

History, MA


School of Arts and Humanities

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Robin Walz

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Robert Dawidoff

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 1996 David J. Mittleman


Collections are mysterious things. A book or text can provide an initial model of a collection. Letters, words, sentences, paragraphs collide to form some sense of meaning. Disparate elements, brought in proximity of each other, gain significance through such closeness. These spheres of related elements often coalesce into forms called texts, which are read for their formal coherence as individual entities. Walter Benjamin, while at times interested in the formal attributes of a specific text, alerts us to the possibility of a greater significance through the act of book collecting. Placing texts in new and different proximities to other texts, what Benjamin refers to as "unpacking," can highlight "lines of flight" (Deleuze/Guattari, p. 12) that can lead one to knowledge only hinted at in individual texts.