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Chapter 14

The Categorical Transcendence of Déjà Vu

Steven R. Kohn

It seems we stood and talked like this before.

We looked at each other in the same way then,

But I can’t remember where or when.

“The clothes you’re wearing are the clothes you wore.

The smile you are smiling you were smiling then,

But I can’t remember where or when.

Some things that happen for the first time,

Seem to be happening again.

And so it seems that we have met before,

And laughed before and loved before,

But who knows where or when.”

What sort of a phenomenon was Lorenz Hart thinking of in 1937 when he wrote those still popular verses for the Rodgers and Hart production Babes in Arms ?

Was Hart hitting the single note of an emotion or an illusion unique to himself or to the poets, artists, or young lovers of his era or was he, in reality, striking a harmonious chord in the lives of millions of people from all fields of endeavour, in all epochs and of all ages who had experienced at one time or another a strange and wonderful feeling that “...some things that happen for the first time, Seem to be happening again”?

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