Missed Revolutions

Idealistic Studies 38 (1-2):23-40 (2008)
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Abstract

This essay explores the familiar German ideology according to which a revolution in thought would, in varying proportions, precede, succeed, accommodate, and generally upstage a political revolution whose defining feature was increasingly thought to be its founding violence: the slide from 1789 to 1793. Germany thus sets out to quarantine the political threat of revolution while siphoning off and absorbing the revolution’s intensity and energy for thinking as such. The essay holds that this structure corresponds to the psychoanalytic logic of trauma: the dissolution of the event into a missed event, and the hypertrophic investment in the trivial, the non-event, the negligible remainder.

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Rebecca Comay
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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