David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
History and Theory 45 (1):51–71 (2006)
This paper seeks to chart a concept of historical experience that French Romantic writers first developed to describe their own relationship to historical time: the notion of the “transitional period.” At first, the term related strictly to the evolving periodic conception of history, one that required breaks, spaces, or zones of indeterminacy to bracket off periods imagined as organic wholes. These transitions, necessary devices in the new grammar of history, also began to attract interest on their own, conceived either as chaotic but creative times of transformation, or, more often, as slack periods of decadence that possessed no proper style but exhibited hybrid traits. Their real interest, however, lies in their reflexive application to the nineteenth century itself, by writers and historians such as Alfred de Musset, Chateaubriand, Michelet, and Renan, who in their effort to define their own period envisioned the “transitional period” as a passage between more coherent and stable historical formations. This prospective self-definition of the “age of history” from a future standpoint is very revealing; it shows not just the tension between its organic way of apprehending the past and its own self-perception, but it also opens a window on a new and paradoxical experience of time, one in which change is ceaseless and an end in itself. The paper also presents a critique of the way the term “modernity” has functioned, from Baudelaire’s initial use to the present, to occlude the experience of transition that the Romantics highlighted. By imposing on the nineteenth-century sense of the transitory a heroic period designation, the term “modernity” denies precisely the reality it describes, and sublimates a widespread temporal malaise into its contrary. The paper concludes that the peculiarly “modern” mania for naming one’s period is a function of transitional time, and that the concept coined by the Romantics still governs our contemporary experience
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Carola Dietze (2008). 1. Toward a History on Equal Terms: A Discussion of Provincializing Europe. History and Theory 47 (1):69–84.
Similar books and articles
Volker Peckhaus (2008). Gottlob Frege and the Interplay Between Logic and Mathematics. In Leila Haaparanta (ed.), The Development of Modern Logic. Oxford University Press
Leonard Krieger (1989). Time's Reasons: Philosophies of History Old and New. University of Chicago Press.
Alan F. Chalmers (2008). Atom and Aether in Nineteenth-Century Physical Science. Foundations of Chemistry 10 (3):157-166.
James Hankins (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Antonio Castillo Gómez (2011). Ordinary Writing and Scribal Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spain: Memory Books. The European Legacy 16 (5):615 - 631.
Basil Willey (1956). More Nineteenth Century Studies. New York, Columbia University Press.
Basil Willey (1980). Nineteenth Century Studies: Coleridge to Matthew Arnold. Cambridge University Press.
Basil Willey (1949). Nineteenth Century Studies. New York, Columbia University Press.
Risto Vilkko (2007). The Problematic Reconstruction of the Development of Modern Logic. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5:31-35.
Ugo Perone (2010). The Risks of The Present: Benjamin, Bonhoeffer and Celan. Symposium: The Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 14 (2):19-34.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads4 ( #580,327 of 1,934,534 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #434,193 of 1,934,534 )
How can I increase my downloads?