This introduction addresses the interrelated ideas of lateness, belatedness, anachronism, untimeliness, old age, and “late style” that run through this special issue. After a brief overview of recent thinking about time, especially in the transition from modernity to postmodernity, it sets up the possibilities of lateness as an intervention and form of (also political) resistance in the twentieth century and beyond. Aside from the field of old-age style or “late style” in its various iterations, which has been a central part of German discourses for some time, lateness more broadly can be understood as a category that speaks to several debates that have played an important role in twentieth-century Germany (demographic change, historical caesuras, generations, memory, etc.) and to contemporary discussions of “afterness,” “end times,” hauntology, postmodernity, and postapocalypse.
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