Jonathan Morse is Professor of English at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and author of Word by Word: The Language of Memory (Cornell University Press). He teaches American literature and modernist literature and blogs at http://theartpart.jonathanmorse.net about language and photography.
A daguerreotype, a picture made with the world’s first practical photographic technology, can’t survive the experience of being looked at unless it is framed under glass. Removed from the frame, the ephemeral image can be wiped off its metal backing as easily as a blackboard is erased. But the crystal that protects a daguerreotype is really an emblem of the barrier between