Mourning Modernity:: Classical Antiquity, Romantic Theory, and Elegiac Form
© Oxford University Press, 2014. This article looks at literary theory. It locates that problematic integral in modernity's dramatically altered experience and conception of time. While the centrality of time to modern theory is hardly in doubt, an acutely temporal dimension also shapes elegiac form and its broader aesthetic significance, in particular at the turn from Classicism to Romanticism. It then views the elegiac as the defining characteristic of aesthetic production in modernity. Mdernity's method-based 'world-picture' as it emerges from the canonical writings of Bacon, Descartes, and Leibniz for the most part understands time as merely 'lapsing' and incessantly receding into a 'past' now conceived as history. In Germany, the rise of modern aesthetics and literary theory correlates with a sustained revaluation of antiquity. The true object of 'mourning' is also addressed.
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