On measuring the nineteenth century
in Interventions
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The nineteenth-century fear of hell is so terrible as to be itself an experience of hell; if so, it is a fearfully acute apprehension of the infinite distance housed within seemingly finite time. There can be no talk, no measuring, of the length of the nineteenth century without reference to hell, and the fear thereof. The Arcadist's account of the nineteenth century explodes in so many directions that it defeats all attempts to measure it. The strange lesson of Edgar Allan Poe's The Man of the Crowd, the short story seized upon by the Arcadist as, in effect, an allegory of the nineteenth century, the century of the crowd. The face of the twentieth century would seem, however, to be nearly completed, more decidable. The face in the motor-car that is chauffeur-driven through the streets of central London in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway is a world-historical face.


Rethinking the nineteenth century

Editors: Andrew Smith and Anna Barton


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