Rethinking the modernist moment: crisis, (im)potentiality and E. M. Forster’s failed kairos

Kolocotroni, V. (2021) Rethinking the modernist moment: crisis, (im)potentiality and E. M. Forster’s failed kairos. In: Rabaté, J.-M. and Spiropoulou, A. (eds.) Historical Modernisms: Time, History and Modernist Aesthetics. Series: Historicizing modernism. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350202962

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As recurrent thematic motif and formal device, the ‘moment’ in modernist writing points us in the direction of a concern and a question about a temporal mode perceived as urgent and potentially transformative. It is in that sense associated with crisis, both in terms of a personal and political history, but may also be seen as sharing effects with other concepts of relevance to the modernist critical repertoire and beyond, such as ‘objective chance’, ‘event’ and ‘kairos.' This essay briefly considers some of these conceptual analogues and focuses mainly on kairos, proposing it as a trope with particular resonances for the consideration of the modernist moment as the space of potentiality, or indeed its opposite. Theoretical coordinates are traced in the work of Alain Badiou, Martin Heidegger, Giorgio Agamben and Antonio Negri, and a suppressed short story by E. M. Forster, ‘The Life to Come’, is read as a test case for the critical relevance of the kairotic moment.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kolocotroni, Dr Vassiliki
Authors: Kolocotroni, V.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Published Online:21 October 2021
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