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Description - Futures Past by Reinhart Koselleck

Widely considered to be the most important German intellectual historian of the postwar period, Reinhart Koselleck has had a profound influence on contemporary historiography. With a new, interpretive introduction by the translator, this revised and corrected edition of Koselleck's most acclaimed work is once again available in English. With the advent of modernity in the late eighteenth-century every aspect of human life was radically transformed, including the experience of time. As the ever-accelerating pace of the modern world left people with briefer intervals of time in which to gather new experiences and adapt to social and technological changes, the demands that were placed on the future correspondingly increased. The promises of modernity -- freedom, progress, opportunity -- began to produce expectations and hopes that broke free of the present and projected utopian visions of unbounded possibility onto the future. In this provocative and erudite book, Koselleck explores the shifting perceptions and conceptions of historical time that have emerged over the past two centuries.Relying on an extraordinary array of witnesses and texts -- from politicians, philosophers, theologians, and poets to proverbs, lexica, Renaissance paintings, and the dreams of German citizens during the Third Reich -- Koselleck argues that the past and the future have become "relocated" in relation to each other, and that "history" has emerged as a new kind of temporality with distinct characteristics and ways of assimilating experience. Chronological time is generally tied to social and political actions, to the concrete experiences of human beings. Yet in reality historical events and epochs intermingle and overlap, transcending strict temporal distinctions that can be derived from physical or astronomical phenomena. In the present context of globalization -- where many cultures and perceptions become superimposed upon one another -- the modern world faces not only temporal acceleration but also historical disorientation. Koselleck believes that any given present is simultaneously a "former future" that was once defined by specific terms and ideas.By analyzing the semantics of historical time, Koselleck brings into focus the far-reaching impact that conceptions of time have on social organization, revealing that human history results as much from structure of temporal experience as from the contingencies of uncontrollable events.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780231127714
ISBN-10: 0231127715
Format: Paperback
(155mm x 229mm x mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 26-May-2004
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Reinhart Koselleck

Reinhart Koselleck, now retired, was previously professor of historical theory at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. He is the author of The Practice of Conceptual History and Critique and Crisis.Keith Tribe was Reader in Economics at Keele University, UK, until 2002. He is now a private scholar and rowing coach at the King's School, Worcester.

Books By Reinhart Koselleck

Practice of Conceptual History by Reinhart Koselleck
Paperback, July 2002
Critique and Crisis by Reinhart Koselleck
Paperback, March 2000
Futures Past by Reinhart Koselleck
Paperback, February 1985