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...
The Poetics of Decline in British Romanticism
Nicholas Halmi is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Oxford. He is author of The Genealogy of the Romantic Symbol (2007) and editor, most recently, of Wordsworth’s Poetry and Prose (2013). He is finishing a book on aesthetic historicism in the “long eighteenth century,” for which he was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship.
Nicholas Halmi; The Poetics of Decline in British Romanticism. Modern Language Quarterly 1 June 2019; 80 (2): 230–232. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-7368274
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