Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Committing the Future to MemoryHistory, Experience, Trauma$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sarah Clift

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254200

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254200.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use (for details see http://www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 November 2017

Narrative Life Span, in the Wake

Narrative Life Span, in the Wake

Benjamin and Arendt

Chapter:
(p.8) Chapter One Narrative Life Span, in the Wake
Source:
Committing the Future to Memory
Author(s):

Sarah Clift

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823254200.003.0002

This chapter draws on texts by Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt to establish the framework of the book as a whole. For both Arendt and Benjamin, the narrative form is the predominant expression of historical memory, and this chapter emphasizes how both thinkers articulate its relation to the finitude of human experience by virtue of its having a beginning, middle, and an end. While Arendt argues that this structure has been lost in the open-endedness of modern conceptions of progress and Benjamin suggests that its loss has contributed to the demise of storytelling as individual remembrance, the latter nonetheless suggests that something of human finitude has been retained in modernity, even within its commitment to never-ending progress. In the course of the exploration, the chapter argues that this structure of open-endedness can provide a resource for theorizing historical narratives in terms of their withheld endings, or as an experience of reading about the past that is charged with a future-oriented suspense. It pursues this jarring experience of reading the past as one which has the potential to suspend or interrupt a straight-forward conception of linear time.

Keywords:   Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Narrative, Historical Memory, Linear time, Finitude

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .