|About the Book|
Widely considered to be the most important German intellectual historian of the postwar period, Reinhart Koselleck has had a profound influence on contemporary historiography. With a new, interpretive introduction by the translator, this revised andMoreWidely considered to be the most important German intellectual historian of the postwar period, Reinhart Koselleck has had a profound influence on contemporary historiography. With a new, interpretive introduction by the translator, this revised and corrected edition of Kosellecks most acclaimed work is once again available in English.With the advent of modernity in the late eighteenth-century every aspect of human life was radically transformed, including the experience of time. As the ever-accelerating pace of the modern world left people with briefer intervals of time in which to gather new experiences and adapt to social and technological changes, the demands that were placed on the future correspondingly increased. The promises of modernity -- freedom, progress, opportunity -- began to produce expectations and hopes that broke free of the present and projected utopian visions of unbounded possibility onto the future. In this provocative and erudite book, Koselleck explores the shifting perceptions and conceptions of historical time that have emerged over the past two centuries. Relying on an extraordinary array of witnesses and texts -- from politicians, philosophers, theologians, and poets to proverbs, lexica, Renaissance paintings, and the dreams of German citizens during the Third Reich -- Koselleck argues that the past and the future have become relocated in relation to each other, and that history has emerged as a new kind of temporality with distinct characteristics and ways of assimilating experience.Chronological time is generally tied to social and political actions, to the concrete experiences of human beings. Yet in reality historical events and epochs intermingle and overlap, transcending strict temporal distinctions that can be derived from physical or astronomical phenomena. In the present context of globalization -- where many cultures and perceptions become superimposed upon one another -- the modern world faces not only temporal acceleration but also historical disorientation. Koselleck believes that any given present is simultaneously a former future that was once defined by specific terms and ideas. By analyzing the semantics of historical time, Koselleck brings into focus the far-reaching impact that conceptions of time have on social organization, revealing that human history results as much from structure of temporal experience as from the contingencies of uncontrollable events.