Endliness as a Modern Time Regime in Russian and European Literature

Postdoctoral Researcher
Erik Martin

Image via Wikimedia Commons

The starting point of the project is the thesis that the emergence of a specific awareness of endliness since Romanticism, for example, the awareness of temporal limits of epochs or the material limitations of resources, represents a genuinely modern experience that is also constitutive for our present. The problem of endliness becomes important in various discourses, in each of which the process that has so far often been treated under the term ”temporalization” (Koselleck), such as the “end of natural history” (Lepenies), the historization of geology and historiography, and the reflection of endliness in literature and philosophy.

The “non-simultaneity” of endliness consists in the fact that this time regime is in constant dialectic tension with other time and space regimes, which indicate an infinity and are rather claimed to stand for modernity: Newton’s postulation of homogeneous space, the belief in the infinite perfectibility of Man in the Enlightenment, or the “floating signifiers” in Postmodernism. The aim of the project is to analyze figures and representational forms of endliness in Russian and European literature and to discuss them in their tension with other time regimes.