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The Experience of Time as Crisis. On Croce’s and Benjamin’s Concept of History

KORNER, A; (2011) The Experience of Time as Crisis. On Croce’s and Benjamin’s Concept of History. Intellectual History Review , 21 (2) 151 - 169. 10.1080/17496977.2011.574342. Green open access


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In the early decades of the twentieth century the experience of time as crisis became the catalyst for a fundamental reorientation in the relationship between historical materialism and idealism, leading to the rejection of simplistic mechanical concepts of historical time. This reorientation represents a turning point in the history of European ideas, clearly evident in the work of two major thinkers of this period, usually associated with opposing political ideologies: the Marxist theorist Walter Benjamin and the liberal philosopher Benedetto Croce. Based on a conceptual framework borrowed partly from Reinhart Koselleck, this article explains how the experience of acute crisis led both thinkers to develop a new understanding of historical time, which shows surprising parallels. Both authors used the reorientation in the relationship between idealism and materialism to criticize positivist approaches to the analysis of historical change and to reject deterministic accounts of the future.

Type: Article
Title: The Experience of Time as Crisis. On Croce’s and Benjamin’s Concept of History
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/17496977.2011.574342
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Intellectual History Review on 29/06/2011, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17496977.2011.574342
Keywords: Benedetto Croce, Walter Benjamin, Reinhart Koselleck, Crisis, Semantics of Historical Time
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1321530
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