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Impossible ModernismT. S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin, and the Critique of Historical Reason$
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Robert S. Lehman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799041

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799041.001.0001

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The Poetry and the Prose of the Future

The Poetry and the Prose of the Future

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction The Poetry and the Prose of the Future
Source:
Impossible Modernism
Author(s):

Robert S. Lehman

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804799041.003.0001

The Introduction examines three moments that have proven foundational for the fraught relationship between poetry and history. The first occurs in the fourth century B. C. in Aristotle’s Poetics, the earliest attempt to provide a systematic definition of the structure and effects of poetry and, consequently, the origin of all later crises of verse. The second appears in Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire, a text that offers a complicated poetic response to a moment of crisis in Marx’s own historical method. The third appears in the early writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, where, against the onset of the nineteenth-century science of history, the demand to see history become poetry is made explicit. Focusing on these three moments, the Introduction establishes the intellectual-historical coordinates of the poetico-historical problem that T. S. Eliot and Walter Benjamin inherit.

Keywords:   Poetics, Historicism, Aristotle, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Percy Bysshe Shelley, G. W. F. Hegel

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