As the flip side of acceleration, lateness and slowness disrupt the relentless logic of the modernizing project by critiquing the harnessing of attention that is a hallmark of modernity's high-speed society. This article debates three prominent modes of lateness around 1900 that interrogate modernity and its prioritization of mobility and speed: first, the moral interpretation of lateness as a stigma (Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann); second, the psychic view of lateness as a condition of perception (Georg Simmel, Franz Kafka, Robert Walser); and third, the psychoanalytic interpretation that turns lateness into a generative principle of cultural change (Sigmund Freud, Robert Musil, Mann). The article then returns to the current debate on acceleration and the question of whether our “Age of Innovation” is characterized by a fundamental devaluation of the past in favor of an ever-accelerating present. Arguably, the fears about the mal du siècle and the loss of cultural connectivity have been a constant companion of modernity.
Skip Nav Destination
August 1, 2015
Research Article| August 01 2015
Defending Lateness: Deliberations on Acceleration, Attention, and Lateness, 1900–2000
New German Critique (2015) 42 (2 (125)): 31–48.
Anne Fuchs; Defending Lateness: Deliberations on Acceleration, Attention, and Lateness, 1900–2000. New German Critique 1 August 2015; 42 (2 (125)): 31–48. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2889236
Download citation file:
Don't already have an account? Register
You could not be signed in. Please check your email address / username and password and try again.
Could not validate captcha. Please try again.
Sign in via your InstitutionSign In