This article puts forward a genealogy of one of the principal temporalities associated with German (pre-)Romantic lyric, the time of a privileged moment (“ewiger/prägnanter Augenblick”). The same temporality is shown to dominate the lyric oeuvre of Fyodor Tiutchev, a Russian Romantic, the proximity of whose poetics to German models is otherwise well documented. As the article maintains, this distinct presentist temporality, along with a concomitant metaphysical stance on the relation between the human and the divine realms, ultimately derives from Pindar's victory odes, which are argued to represent a key resource both for the ideal of lyric propagated in Germany in the Geniezeit and (more unexpectedly) for Tiutchev's lyric practice. The first two sections of the article contain an overview of the chief temporal categories that occur in Pindar's corpus (and, more generally, in Ancient Greek literature of the archaic period) and a discussion of the ways in which his temporal imagination relates to the ideological concerns of the victory ode.
Beyond these specific objectives, which lie in the fields of literary and conceptual history, the article discusses the theoretical implications of a close association between distinct temporal patterns and poetic genres, as well as the issue of the priority of literary vs. philosophical influences on cultural perceptions of time.