In Modernism and Time, Ronald Schleifer analyses the transition from the Enlightenment to post-Enlightenment ways of understanding in Western thought. Schleifer argues that this transition in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century expresses itself centrally in an altered conception of temporality. He examines this period's remarkable breaks with the past in literature, music, and the arts more generally. Whereas Enlightenment thought sees time as a homogenous, neutral medium, in which events and actions take place, post-Enlightenment thought sees time as discontinuous and inexorably bound up with both the subjects and events that seem to inhabit it. This fundamental change of perception, Schleifer argues, takes place across disciplines as varied as physics, economics and philosophy. Schleifer's study engages with the work of writers and thinkers as varied as George Eliot, Walter Benjamin, Einstein and Russell, and offers a powerful reassessment of the politics and culture of modernism.

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