The moment: a history, typology, and theory of the moment in philosophy and literatur[e]

New York: P. Lang (1993)
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The historical and typological failure to represent in writing the phenomenon of the moment--light, wonder, love, unity, god, etc.--has repeatedly turned into the success of performance: writing. An examination of the various textualizations of the moment reveals it as a signifier that empties itself of the meaning it is supposed to signify, while instead it generates ever new meaning. Therefore the historical and typological textualizations of the moment of epiphany, dialectical change, recollection, deferral, etc., must be read as a genealogy and an economy . This reading of the moment consists in a three-part discussion of philosophical and literary texts on epiphany in Plato and Dante, on the romantic moment in Kant, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Wordsworth, and on the post/modern moment in Heidegger, Adorno, Nietzsche, Derrida, Goethe, Musil, and Beckett. The romantic moment deserves special attention because of its instability in foregrounding presence and absence. An intimate relationship can be seen between the romantic moment of instability and the post-modern moment of a regulated instability which ultimately shows that the romantic/post-modern moment constitutes the momentum of all previous periods and textualizations of the moment. This examination of the genealogical and economic shapings of the moment reveals it as a rhetorical device. In terms of a politics of semiotics the moment always performatively subverts its political representation



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