Thursday, November 02, 2006

Historical Periodization

Lyotard writes that historical periodization "is a way of placing events in a diachrony, and diachrony is ruled by the principle of revolution" ("Rewriting Modernity," The Inhuman, p. 25). If the obsession with revolution is characteristic of modernism, as Lyotard would have it, then I should want to question the premise that diachrony is ruled by the principle of revolution, on the grounds that diachrony is a universal feature of narrative, whereas the obsession with revolution appears to be a particular feature of modernism. Yet it's not easy to get around the fact of modern history's preoccupation with periodization. Perhaps it would help to consider other forms of diachrony, mythic and genealogical, for instance, or the two together. Are mythic genealogies governed by a prinicple of revolution? There is a case to be made, so I will provisionally accept Lyotard's premise about diachrony, in which case I wonder whether the obsession with revolution is truly a special trait of modernism–yet how could it not be? I'm a bit flummoxed. I think I need a clearer definition of the historical, and I need to be clear about what kind of texts narratives of historical periodization actually represent. If they are mythic, they are surely mythic in a different way than narratives of the Olympians are mythic. The disjuncture between the historical and the mythic appears to be historical, but it may also be mythic. I think I'll have to remain a bit flummoxed.

posted by Fido the Yak at 9:59 AM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi fido,
Sent you a couple of emails recently - one saying I can send you a copy of the bk if you like...

You don't have to reply but are you getting these emails...

November 02, 2006 4:22 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Nothing yet. I look at fidotheyak squiggle Yahoo dot com or fidotheyak squiggle gmail dot com every day, and also my other mail box which is frankly on a sluggish server.

I would love for you to send me a copy of the book since you've offered, but I must say it sounds exactly like the sort of book I like to buy. Thank you.

November 03, 2006 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hm, have sent 2 mails to the yahoo account - one on the 21 oct. just tried again -and it's not bouncing back.

November 03, 2006 12:40 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

Hi, just got your message in Yahoo!

November 03, 2006 1:21 PM  

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