Introduction: Time on a Human Scale, 1860-1930

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Assessing the present as a locus of particularly intense reflection in Western Europe, during a period which has often been explored for its passing interest in futurism or alternatively its obsession with decadence, this opening essay establishes the wider intellectual context for the essays that follow. It assesses the historiographical, philosophical and sociological interventions of the period under examination for their deepening of the cultural enquiry into the present that was being taken forward across different artforms, political discourses and individual experiences. It argues for a rethinking of the European ‘fin-de-siècle’ and an expanded frame of historical enquiry that traverses the First World War in assessing this vital period in European history. The humanity of the present is particularly at stake, both in the intellectual arguments about the present advanced during the period, which are surveyed rapidly in this introduction, and in the new cultural, artistic and political discoveries to be presented through the volume as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTime on a Human Scale
Subtitle of host publicationExperiencing the Present in Europe, 1860-1930
EditorsJulian Wright, Allegra Fryxell
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780197266977
ISBN (Print)9780191955488
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy

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