Behind the wall in Kobus Moolman’s A Book of Rooms

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


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. 

Author Biography

Karen Jennings, The Federal University of Goiania, Brazil

Karen Jennings is a South African author. She recently completed postdoctoral research at the Federal University of Goiania, Brazil on the historical relationship between science and literature through the lens of eusocial insects.


Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Trans. Maria Jolas. Beacon, 1994.

Becker, Howard. “Georges Perec’s Experiments in Social Description.” Ethnography vol. 2, no. 1, 2001, pp. 63–76.

Burgelin, Claude & Joseph Mai. “Georges Perec, or the Spirit of Beginnings.” Yale French Studies no. 105, 2004, pp. 9–19.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly & Euegene Rochberg-Halton. The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self. Cambridge U P, 1981.

Koos, Leonard. R. “Georges Perec: P or the Puzzle of Fiction.” Yale French Studies Special Issue: After the Age of Suspicion: The French Novel Today, 1988, pp. 185–8.

Lévy, Sydney. “Emergence in Georges Perec.” Yale French Studies no. 105, 2004, pp. 36–55.

Moolman, Kobus. A Book of Rooms. Deep South, 2014.

Perec, Georges. Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. Trans. John Sturrock. Penguin,

Perec, Georges. “Still Life /Style Leaf.” Trans. Harry Mathews. Yale French Studies no. 61, 1981, pp. 299–305.

Perec, Georges. W, or the Memory of Childhood. Trans. David Bellos. Harvill, 1988.

Schwenger, Peter. “Still Life: A User’s Manual.” Narrative vol. 102, 2002, pp. 140–55.

Wood, Denis & Robert J. Beck. “Home Rules”. The People, Place, and Space Reader. Eds. Jen Jack Gieseking, et al. Routledge, 2014, pp. 173–5.
  • Abstract 137
  • PDF 384
Views and downloads are with effect from 11 January 2018
Research articles