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Contemporaneity and Antagonism in Modernist and Postmodern Aesthetics

Contemporaneity and Antagonism in Modernist and Postmodern Aesthetics Gillia N B. Pierce Contemporaneity and Antagonism in Modernist and Postmodern Aesthetics When Paul de Man writes in Blindness and Insight about the tension between lit- erary modernity and literary history—a locus of antagonism, in his view—he seems in many ways to be prefiguring current discussions of contemporaneity as the term has been used recently in art critical and theoretical circles. De Man ree fl cts that “there may well be an inherent contradiction between modernity, which is a way of acting and behaving, and such terms as ‘ree fl ction’ or ‘ideas’ that play an important part in literature and history. The spontaneity of being modern conifl cts with the claim to think and write about modernity” (142). Substituting here the term “con- temporaneity” as a formulation for our current way of relating to the present, we arrive at a succinct description of the e fi ld of antagonism the idea of contempora- neity is meant to evoke. In discussions of contemporaneity, as in de Man’s formula- tion above, the present becomes eternal through a constant ree fl ctive practice and a recognition of its own incessant incipience. Has the postmodern moment therefore passed? Discussions of contempora- neity http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Contemporaneity and Antagonism in Modernist and Postmodern Aesthetics

The Comparatist , Volume 37 – May 12, 2013

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Gillia N B. Pierce Contemporaneity and Antagonism in Modernist and Postmodern Aesthetics When Paul de Man writes in Blindness and Insight about the tension between lit- erary modernity and literary history—a locus of antagonism, in his view—he seems in many ways to be prefiguring current discussions of contemporaneity as the term has been used recently in art critical and theoretical circles. De Man ree fl cts that “there may well be an inherent contradiction between modernity, which is a way of acting and behaving, and such terms as ‘ree fl ction’ or ‘ideas’ that play an important part in literature and history. The spontaneity of being modern conifl cts with the claim to think and write about modernity” (142). Substituting here the term “con- temporaneity” as a formulation for our current way of relating to the present, we arrive at a succinct description of the e fi ld of antagonism the idea of contempora- neity is meant to evoke. In discussions of contemporaneity, as in de Man’s formula- tion above, the present becomes eternal through a constant ree fl ctive practice and a recognition of its own incessant incipience. Has the postmodern moment therefore passed? Discussions of contempora- neity

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 12, 2013

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