Although the historian Reinhart Koselleck’s best-known collection of essays, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, has been available in English translation since 1985, his account of what he called the Sattelzeit (saddle time) of modernity, between 1750 and 1850, has only recently begun to acquire among Anglophone readers the canonical status once enjoyed by Michel Foucault’s account of the supersession of the classical by the modern épistémè in the same period. Two processes that Koselleck considered fundamental to the emergence of a self-conscious modernity were the temporalization of history, whereby a linear conception of historical time replaced the traditional cyclical conception, and the perceived acceleration of historical change, as a result of which the past became increasingly divisible into distinct epochs and the future presented itself as increasingly open-ended and unpredictable. But just as Koselleck’s intepretation of a historicizing...

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