Siegfried Kracauer
On History and Non-Simultaneity

At any given historical moment ... we are confronted with numbers of events which, because of their location in different areas, are simultaneous only in a formal sense.

— Kracauer, Siegfried. History: The Last Things Before the Last (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969), p. 147.


His study on 'Time and History' challenges the claim of general history that, within the homogeneous medium of chronological time, it can make events of all areas of life comprehensible as a unified process consistent in every historical moment. This understanding of history, still under the influence of Hegel's idea of the 'objective spirit' . . . presupposes that everything which happens at one time is determined to the same degree by the meaning of this moment and thus conceals the fact that things which occur at the same time are not really simultaneous.

— Jauss, Hans Robert. "Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory", translated by Elizabeth Benzinger, in: New Directions in Literary History, edited by Ralph Cohen (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974; pp. 11-41), p. 32. [An altered translation appears in Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, translated by Timothy Bahti, introduction by Paul de Man (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982 [Theory and History of Literature; vol. 2].


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