Time Passing

Modernity and Nostalgia

Sylviane Agacinski. Translated by Jody Gladding

Columbia University Press

Time Passing

Pub Date: June 2003

ISBN: 9780231125147

240 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Time Passing

Modernity and Nostalgia

Sylviane Agacinski. Translated by Jody Gladding

Columbia University Press

What do we mean when we say time passes? How do contingency and anachronism and other philosophical concepts bearing on time affect the more (seemingly) concrete realities of our political and cultural lives? In ways small and great, personal and cultural, we all experience the mutability of time. We feel it expand and contract, speed up and slow down, as it bends to the imperatives of memory, money, and the media. In our own time (itself a pregnant phrase) we have witnessed a disengagement with the past even as technological advances have allowed us to capture and reproduce past time as never before. How are we to make sense of this paradox?

In this wide-ranging meditation on the meaning of time, Sylvaine Agacinski weaves together discussions of Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Freud, Heidegger, Baudelaire, Barthes, and especially Walter Benjamin—her model for the modern "passer of time"—as she traces a time line of the philosophy of time. After examining how shifting attitudes toward the passage of time have affected everything from art criticism to the development of photography to the rise of modernism itself, Agacinski concludes by proposing a rethinking of democracy that emphasizes patience in the face of our current temporal frenzy.
Starting from the observation that 'passing' has become our way of being, that henceforth everything seems impermanent and unstable, Sylviane Agacinski tries to clarify from many different perspectives 'the ethic of the ephemeral' of this age, so elusive because it is transient and ungrounded. Along the way, she invents a style for her reflections that is both fresh and spare, and leads effortlessly from metaphysics to politics, passing through an original analysis of the aesthetic that belongs to photography. Le Monde
Agacinski's essayistic style shifts focus from the metaphysics of temporality via the aesthetic status of photography, to the politics of mass media... Recommended. Choice
a remarkably candid and provocative assessment...probing analysis Bryce Christensen, Southern Utah University, Modern Age
The Western Hour
Passage
Tests of Time
The Retreat of the Eternal
Movement
Un passeur de temps: Walter Benjamin
The Time of Images
Historical Polemic: The Modernity of Photography
The Epoch of Phantoms
Anachronisms of Art: Style and Medium
Political Time
Patience and Democracy
Media Time

About the Author

Sylviane Agacinski teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. She is the author of Parity of the Sexes (Columbia, 2001) and Aparte: Conceptions and Deaths of Søren Kierkegaard. Cited in the New Yorker as one of the most influential women in France, she has in recent years played a pivotal role in the feminist parité movement that has swept her country.Jody Gladding's translations include The Devil's Cloth (Columbia) by Michel Pastoureau and As Night Follows Day by Pierre Moinot. She is a poet and the author of Stone Crop.