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Title: Interrupting tradition : now-time (Jeztzeit) in and out of the theatre
Authors: White, Joel
Keywords: Interruption (Psychology) in art
Time perception
Contemporary, The
Issue Date: 2015-06
Publisher: University of Malta. Department of English
Citation: White, J. (2015). Interrupting tradition : now-time (Jeztzeit) in and out of the theatre. Antae Journal, 2(2), 84-89.
Abstract: ‘Progress has its seat not in the continuity of elapsing time but in its interruptions—where the truly new makes itself felt for the first time’. Interruption, as articulated by Walter Benjamin in The Arcades Project, presupposes both the potential continuation of historical time (defined as the sequential movement of history toward its end) as well as its possible cessation. To interrupt, meaning to “break between,” implies a space of allowing that punctures the status quo—be that status quo the disequilibria of power and material means or otherwise. Where the new ruptures, tradition maintains. For Benjamin this interruption occurs in the present. The present, being the site of interruption, is endowed with a potential to break with the self-positing structures of the past. The time of the present, now-time as Benjamin conceives of it, does not, however, condition itself transcendentally but must, instead, be immanently possible in and of world. The necessity for the metaphorical becoming space of time in the phrase “space of allowing” only reconfirms this. This paper questions how we can think and actualise interruption in both philosophy and the theatre. It argues that the theoretical germ for Benjamin’s concept of now-time derives from his work on the idea of tragedy found in his essays of the 1920s and in The Origins of German Tragic Drama. Elucidating these texts, this paper reconciles Benjamin’s aesthetic and political philosophies.
Appears in Collections:Antae Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2
Antae Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2

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