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伊戈尔顿

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The freezing of time achieved by the Trauerspiel signifies the need of the absolutist state to bring history to an end; the absolutist monarch himself becomes the primary source of signification in a world drained of historical dynamic. This theme, too, will find a later echo in Benjamin, in that...

The freezing of time achieved by the Trauerspiel signifies the need of the absolutist state to bring history to an end; the absolutist monarch himself becomes the primary source of signification in a world drained of historical dynamic. This theme, too, will find a later echo in Benjamin, in that ultimate abolition of history which is fascism. Such significant temporality as there is, however, belongs more to hermeneutic practice itself than to its objects; the time of the Trauerspiel is as empty as its realia, the negation of that teleological vision which Benjamin will later denounce as 'historicism', listlessly open to the Jetztzeit — the totalizing, transfiguring moment — that never comes. As the petrified stage-properties are ritually shuffled, time is almost folded back into space, dwindled to a recurrence so agonizingly empty that some salvific epiphany might indeed just be conceived to tremble on its brink. If there is a moment in the Trauerspiel that resembles the Jetztzeit — the apocalyptic point at which time stands still to receive the plentitude of hitherto dismembered meaning — it resembles it only as caricature: 'the narrow frame of midnight, an opening in the passage of time, in which the same ghostly image constantly reappears'.

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