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Modernity and Literary Tradition
Hans Robert Jauss
Translated by Christian Thorne
1 The word modernity, which is meant to distinguish, in epochal terms, the self-understanding of our era from its past, is paradoxical. If one looks back over its literary tradition, it seems evident that it has always alreadyforfeited, through historical repetition, the very claim it sets out to make. It was not coined specially for our period, nor does it seem in the least capable of designating, unmistakably, the unique features of an epoch. It is true that the French noun form la modernite is, like its German counterpart die Moderne, ´ a recent coinage. Both words make their ﬁrst appearance at a time when our perception of the familiar historical world is separated from a past that is no longer accessible to us without the mediation of historical knowledge. Romanticism, as both a literary and a political period, can be considered remote in this sense, a past that has been sundered from our modernity. If one takes the revolution of 1848 as romanticism’s historical endpoint, the emergence of the neologism la modernite does in fact seem to signal a ´ changed understanding of the world. In France, it was Baudelaire above all who promoted la modernite—whose earliest known use dates to 1849, in ´ Chateaubriand’s Memoires d’outre-tombe—1 as a slogan for a new aesthetic.2 ´ In Germany, die Moderne had become fashionable by 1887, after Eugen Wolﬀ, in a lecture to the Berlin literary society Durch, formulated his new
1. See Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphabetique et analogique de la langue francaise (Paris, 1951– ´ ¸ 64), s.v. “modernite.” ´ 2. Above all in Charles Baudelaire, Le Peintre de la vie moderne, in Oeuvres completes de ´ Baudelaire [Paris, 1950]; hereafter abbreviated P. See also Gerhard Hess, Die Landschaft in Baudelaires “Fleurs du Mal” (Heidelberg, 1953), pp. 40–42.
Critical Inquiry 31 (Winter 2005) English translation 2005 by The University of Chicago. 0093-1896/05/3102-0000$10.00. All rights reserved. From Hans Robert Jauss, Literaturgeschichte als Provokation Surhkamp Frankfurt am Main 1970.
Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition
Princip der Moderne (“principle of the modern”) in ten theses; although set alongside Baudelaire’s turn to surnaturalisme, this can only attest to a cer´ tain national backwardness.3 And yet even Baudelaire’s modernite, harbinger of a new artistic epoch, should not make one forget that this coinage is the late child of a long linguistic history, that even the noun’s most recent meaning depends on the original adjective modernus, which, in turn, is part of an even older literary tradition, “one of Late Latin’s last bequests to the modern world.”4 And, at ﬁrst glance, this tradition seems perfectly poised to expose as illusory the claim that is intrinsic to the concept of modernity itself—that the present age, generation, or epoch has a unique claim to novelty and can thus profess to have made progress over the old ways. For throughout nearly the entire history of Greek and Roman literature and culture, from the Alexandrian school of Homer criticism to Tacitus’s “Dialogue on Orators,” the dispute with the admirers of the “old ways” would ﬂare up around precisely such claims to “novelty.” Namely, insofar as the “new men” themselves would inevitably metamorphose, over time, into antiqui, the later generations would take over the role of the neoterici, and this natural, cyclical sequence would seem to conﬁrm the wise words with which Tacitus has Materna settle the quarrel between Aper and Messalla: “Since no one can achieve great fame and great tranquility at the same time, let every man enjoy the advantages of the age that is granted him without diminishing any other age.”5 From this perspective, the historical selfconsciousness with which the moderni have squared oﬀ against the antiqui, again and again, in every Renaissance since the Carolingian, can then be taken for a literary constant, as normal and natural in the history of European culture as the alternation of generations is in biology. The whole series of La Querelle des anciens et des modernes, which marks European literature’s path to its national classicism, arose out of the repeated asking and answering of a certain question: Is antiquity exemplary and what does it mean to imitate it? But wouldn’t these quarrels themselves then be part
3. See Fritz Martini, “Modern, Die Moderne,” in Reallexikon der Deutschen Literaturgeschichte, ed. Paul Merker and Wolfgang Stammler, 4 vols. (Berlin, 1958), 2:391–415. 4. Ernst Robert Curtius, Europaische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (Bern, 1948), p. 257; ¨ hereafter abbreviated EL. 5. “Nunc, quoniam nemo eodem tempore adsequi potest magnam famam et magnam quietem, bono saeculi sui quisque citra obtrectationem alterius utatur.”
H a n s R o b e r t J a u s s was emeritus professor of romance languages at the University of Constance. His publications include Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. C h r i s t i a n T h o r n e is an assistant professor of English at Williams College.
to see even the secular process by which modern literature and art have broken away from the ancient canon’s normative past as preformed on the model of the ancient moderni and antiqui. “The inconspicuous fact that the late-pagan Virgil cult was the ﬁrst to enunciate. however tentatively. itself originated by the anciens—the ruse of traditions. sadly. prefashioned on classical models? Isn’t our present consciousness of modernity ﬁnally trapped in this same cycle. La querelle des anciens et des modernes takes on the same meaning in this context: It is a literary trope dating back to antiquity and returning repeatedly in the generational revolt of the young. It lay extinguished for nearly ﬁfteen hundred years. §2). even the modern notion of creative art. and ﬁnally to absorb modernity’s irreparable rupture with a historical ideal—a rupture that our modernity completes— back into the cycle of some natural recurrence. the notion of creative literature thus yields a weighty historical point. most impressive are the passages where Curtius adduces Pseudo-Longinus’s On the Sublime. one of the work’s key texts.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 331 of the ancient inheritance. in the self-understanding of a new present and its sloughing-oﬀ of some past. §5). This ruse has been variously deployed by Ernst Robert Curtius in his European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. It becomes possible. If one looks instead at the historical process that this putatively self-governing tradition works to conceal. its subsequent course was not to be foreseen. the history of modernus as word or concept will show that the meaning of the Late Latin term was not given in full at the moment of its coining. 14. the cycle of unrecognized or unacknowledged emulation? Behind this line of argument. however. the prototype of all scholarship on antiquity’s afterlife. chap. to ignore the break between the ancient and Christian conceptions of modernity. there lies one of the ruses of philological metaphysics. it ﬂickers back to life”—as though it were still substantially the same thought. which. was “strangled by tradition’s unbreakable chain of mediocrity. chap. can be rescued for the mystical continuity of an essential European culture. then. which was directed against the ancient principle that art should imitate nature. It only begins to disclose itself in the historical transformation of the consciousness of modernity. The deﬁnition of modernus cannot be subsumed in the sempiternal meaning of some literary trope. it indicates nothing more than the shifting proportions of writers old and new (see EL. In these terms. in order to suggest that even the modern notion of creative imagination was preformed by an ancient tradition long buried. . It ﬂares up like a mystical lantern in the twilight hours of the aging world. In the dawning brilliance of Goethe’s youth. 18.” strapped for a congenial spirit until Goethe happened along (EL. becoming recognizable to us as a history-making force at those points where its necessary antithesis comes to light.
call the sloughing-oﬀ of the past and which can be seen as constitutive of any epoch’s consciousness of itself as epoch.” ¸ 7. modern marks the dividing line between that which is newly produced and that which the newly produced has sidelined. between what was still in yesterday and what is already out today. At the end of our examination we will see that this preunderstanding of the modern. say. c’est ce qui d’abord aura ˆ ˆ paru le plus moderne. of having taken a step from the old to the new? And how does the historical self-understanding of a period become tangible in the various antitheses to modernity. as revealed in this use of the word and in its implicit antithesis.332 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition The ordinary use of the word modern should be enough. and to put the point in terms of fashion. aiming to discover. crossing over into the modern is the process by which whatever was only just now current not only loses all value but is abruptly remanded to the masklike vizier of the outmoded. to the transition between epochs. Les Faux-Monnayeurs. It is oriented. that is. counts as new and what counts as old. consigned to the ´ ´ laughable role of anachronism. following Schelling. quoted in Robert. without the gradual decay of organic processes: “Ce qui paraıtra bientot le plus vieux. to demonstrate that the word’s meaning is best grasped via its opposites. a most instructive phenomenon in this regard. “moderne. not from the old or from the past. for us. To be more precise. originated some hundred years ago in a new turn to the aesthetic. at a given moment. 1946). s. In the realm of fashion. the same dress after it has fallen out of ` fashion. over and over again. 2 How does a certain consciousness come to the fore in the appearance and history of the word modern—the consciousness. the reﬂection of an experience of time. indeed. Modern in the aesthetic sense of the word is to be distinguished.”6 But if what is modern today cannot in any essential way be distinguished from what will be demode tomorrow.v. the eternally beautiful. The word modern marks the dividing line between today and yesterday. Dictionnaire alphabetique et analogique ´ ´ de la langue francaise. as new? The following word history is focused on these questions. but from the classic or the classical. p. Its ﬁrst signs are to be found in France. which one could. Manfred Schroter ¨ (Munich. but rather a dress that the salesperson coos over as timeless or classic. the enduring opposite of a dress a la dernier cri is not. then the opposite of the modern must be sought somewhere beyond change. whose consciousness of modernite in many respects still determines our aesthetic and historical under´ standing of the world. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling. Andre Gide. among Baudelaire and his generation. which is experienced. for a start. in the meaning of the word as in its opposite numbers. And. 11: “How few know the genuine past! There can be no past without a powerful . Die Weltalter: Fragmente. ed.7 6. above all. that which holds for all time. between what.
it already meant “now. But then modernus does not simply mean “new. see M. In this version of history.” and Walter Freund—whose excellent account I am following here—has emphasized with good reason that the latter is the decisive nuance. designates something more than the historical (that is.” as well. hereafter abbreviated M. by a whole series of contemporaries. Helleno-Roman culture was considered.8 Among related temporal terms. See Walter Freund.” In all probability. 9. where it is distinguished from nostris temporibus or the seculis modernis. that period. it marks the boundaries of the current. which uses the word to set apart recent events—admonitiones modernas or the decrees of the latest Roman synod— from antiques regulis. meant something more than “merely” or “only” or “just this moment.” 8. Modernus und andere Zeitbegriﬀe des Mittelalters (Cologne. though it will soon appear as antiquitas in Cassiodorus. “that by the year 500. p. He lives forever in her. The boundary at which this particular antiques presses up against the present (nostra aetas) is the year 450. This function was not (or was no longer) performed by the near synonyms present in this period. the one that justiﬁes the neologism. the period of transition from ancient Rome to the new Christian world.9 This it how it appears in 494– 95 in Gelasius’s Epistolae pontiﬁcum. he will never emerge from her. there is no room for any present. p. like coetanus or novus. that begins with the apostles’ successors and extends to the bishops assembled at the Council of Chalcedon (see M. at the latest. The antiquitas for which modernus comes to supply a kind of antithetical supplement is the ecclesiastical past of the patres or veteres. so one cannot help but wonder whether this new word testiﬁes to an awareness that antiquity has ended and the Christian age begun. arising in the separation from itself. 5. 11). in other words. Modernus is derived from modo (as hodiernus is from hodie). a thing of the past” (M. 31. which dissolves the antithesis between Christianity and the Roman Empire into the transhistorical continuity of all time since Christ’s birth. and modo. which is how it survives in the romance languages. some ﬁfty years back. at this time. which is what one might expect from its etymologicalorigins. In the earliest sources. The man who is incapable of standing in opposition to his own past has none—or rather. His philosophy of history backdated the onset of the Christian era—the germina temporis Christiani—to the period of peace under Augustus. 28). 1957).” It also means “of that time. only modernus performs the exclusive function of designating the historical now of the present. with which he contrasted the relative peacelessness of the pagan past. p.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 333 The earliest known use of the word modernus dates to the 490s. for its part. Orosius had already described his own epoch as the tempora Christiana. . the current) present. The borrowed word neotericus often gets disﬁgured and gradually fades from use. pp. At the beginning of the ﬁfth century. which suggests. praesens changes into a demonstrative and. 5–10. The pagan or Roman past is nowhere in sight. the word has nothing more than a technical meaning.
For him. See Johannes Sporl. Orosius lacks any notion of antiquitas to designate the past. modernorum nobilissimus institutor” (quoted in M. The word modernus. p.334 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition conceptual opposition between a “modern” present and an authoritative antiquity. 32)—one hears an ethos of admiration for the old ways. In formulations like the following from his letter to Symmachus—“Antiquorum diligentissimus imitator. But. understood as the seculum modernum. because the question of progress or decadence or rebirth has not yet been posed. disconnects an exemplary past from the modernity of an onward-moving present. Edging ever forwards. that this opposition becomes visible for the ﬁrst time in the new verbal pair antiqui and moderni. under the term antiquitas. the glory days of Charlemagne will strike the German emperors as an ideal past in its own right. 47). which was based on a belief in the equality. so a new past gets inserted between the “modern” present and pagan antiquitas. what ¨ emerges is basically a process of progressive periodization. thus begins the ninth century by separating Charlemagne’s new universal empire. of the tempora Christiana. which. . which ﬁrst enters common use in the Carolingian Age. the temporal boundary of modernitas expands to encompass a larger period of time and then leaves this period behind. nor does the metahistorical present of his tempora Christiana grant a distinct historical identity to the present age. exhibits the full spectrum of meanings between temporal boundary and epoch. and the renewal of his empire will come to seem every bit as pressing as the revival of imperial Rome.10 It is in Cassiodorus. p. the gothic imperial present has as its ideal and task the renewal of imperial Rome’s lost grandeur. soon thereafter. “Das Alte und das Neue im Mittelalter. It is precisely on this point that the relationship between modernity and antiquitas in Cassiodorus distinguishes itself from later renascences.11 In the realm of philosophy and 10. which can without compunction be combined with an aﬃrmation of modernity’s historical claims. see M. 3 The antithesis of Christian present and pagan antiquity that makes itself most strongly felt in the scholarly circle around Charlemagne and then again in the so-called twelfth-century Renaissance is only part of the term’s subsequent history. who already looks back on Rome and ancient culture as though onto a sealed past. Cassiodorus imparted a ﬁrst coloration to this consequential antithesis. If you follow the etymology as it has been reconstructed by Freund and Johannes Sporl.” Historisches Jahrbuch 50 (1930): ¨ 312. indeed the superiority. in the Middle Ages. p. 11. 22. transforming it into a self-contained epoch. from Roman antiquity (see M. which. as well as from the historical self-conception of the medieval moderni.
For us. the conceptual pair is left indicating nothing more than a changing of the generational guard among scholastic philosophers: the antiqui. 16. moderni.. Chenu. In the thirteenth century. 88. as the name for an exemplary past. introduced the “new philosophy” of Aristotelianism. who. See Marie-Dominique Chenu.16 12.” Revue des sciences philosophiques et theologiques 17 (1928): 82–94. 86.”15 And if the twelfth-century moderni were unusually conscious of living through some temporal watershed—“of the dawning of the new age. p. p. The Christian and pagan authors of the distant past were both called veteres. p. compared to which everything that came before is ‘old’ (Horatian poetry. There is another sense in which the counterterm antiqui detached itself from pagan or Roman antiquity. 106). with Boethius serving as a boundary. ´ 13. philosophy) and indeed old in the same sense that the Old Testament is old”—then there was in this “rebellion of the young” against scholasticism and the authority of classical authors something more than a generation gap behind which Curtius once again discerned an ancient pattern (EL. the pagan world and Christianity are two distinct spheres for which there exists no common denominator. after all. 15. a dividing line that even humanists like John of Salisbury kept to. “But the moderni of this period are so dependent on their schooling in ancient models that they emulate even when they protest” (EL. 258). although in the doctrinal tradition the distance back to the antiqui can get shorter and shorter until the connection with classical antiquity is severed altogether. “Antiqui. the digests or pandectae. between patres (sancti) and philosophi. upon succeeding them. could be applied to the Christian veteres or to Old Testament believers or to the church fathers.13 But the common use of this one word. No century experienced the opposition between a ‘modern’ present and pagan-Christian antiquity as keenly as the twelfth” (EL. a distinction drawn between Christian and pagan authors. 14. and M. p. p. so laden with tradition. 1937): 29. Curtius did not recognize the typological .”14 The Middle Ages did not yet see pagan and Christian antiqui as forming a single “pagan-Christian antiquity. 113). should not hide the fact that there was.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 335 letters. “If we speak of the ‘ancients.12 This accelerated movement freezes again in the fourteenth century when the newest dispute between schools—the dispute between Ockhamite nominalism and Scotist and Thomist realism—so hardened that the opposition between the via moderna and the via antiqua would last for nearly two hundred years past its moment of terminological timeliness (see M. The Middle Ages thought diﬀerently. Exceptions are cited in M. Antiquitas. “Les ‘Philosophes’ dans la philosophie chretienne medievale. 100. who taught in Paris from 1190 to 1220 or so.” Revue des sciences 26 ´ ´ ´ (Jan. p. the term moderni distinguishes Christian writers from the Greek and Roman writers of pagan antiquity. even if he placed Virgil and Terence in “our camp” and once called Origenes a “Christian philosopher. 106). See ibid.’ we mean the pagan authors. p. and the moderni.
1925). as Friedrich Ohly has shown. ¨ . Buck’s notion that the image is motivated by a “harmonizing balance of self-consciousness and faith in authority” is belied by its appearance in John of Salisbury’s Metalogicon. which quotes Bernard and then launches into a pointed critique of Aristotle. not cyclical. 17. 20. but rather as its intensiﬁcation and culmination. 19. See M. ed. “Synagoga und Ecclesia: Typologisches in mittelalterlicher Dichtung. and August Buck. and Marie de ˆ ´ France—position themselves against “the old authors” is rooted in the same ground as the twelfth-century Renaissance more generally. Typological interpretation is an act of appropriating the old with the power of the new. the new is built on the foundation of the old. It preserves the past in the elation of the present. “Prolog. Marie de France. Ibid. Romanische Literaturstudien 1936–1956 (Tubingen. as well. 1959).” in Miscellania Medievalia. Chretien de Troyes. We are following the interpretation put forth by Leo Spitzer.19 The trope bespeaks admiration for the antiqui. . tanto perspicaciores. which unlike Italy’s humanist Renaissance. although he himself describes antiquity as “old in the sense of the Old Testament” (EL. 1966). 18. . Walter Map.17 It has the speciﬁc form of Christian historical experience: Typology takes moments separated in time and relates them to one another as the intensiﬁcation of the old in the new. Ohly.336 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition The self-consciousness with which. 357. p. The new preserves the old. yet in this admiration one can also hear the consciousness of a typological intensiﬁcation of the old in the new: the present can see farther than the past! The progress that the Christian present sees itself as having achieved over its ancient mentors could also be validated by a sentence from Priscianus’s Latin grammar: quanto iuniories. . The old is redeemed in the new.” Lais. See Friedrich Ohly. The prologue to the Lais by the vernacular poet Marie de France gives some indication of how that sentence was cited and understood: “The ancients already knew that their descendants would be more clever because they (the successors) can write commentaries on a text’s wording and thus enrich its sense. to be sure.”20 Here we see scheme that underlies the moderni’s experience of time. the old lives on in the new. Paul Wilpert (Berlin. It is the historical self-perception of a golden age. a new generation of Latin and vernacular writers—including Matthaeus of Vendome. ll. pp. around 1170. ed. “Gab es einen Humanismus im Mitteralter?” Romanische Forschungen 75 (1963): 235. Karl Warnke (Halle. 83. ﬁrst employed by Bernard de Chartres and later interpreted in antiquity’s favor: the moderni as dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants. “Synagoga und Ecclesia”.18 With the typological experience of history there originates a famous image. 259). The twelfthcentury moderni’s experience of time is.. Walter of Chatillon. was experienced neither as the emulation nor as the revival of antiquitas. 9–16. Jean de ˆ Anville. p. He clearly understands this as mere metaphor. typological. 350–69. p.
21 It is in these same years that Walter Map demands precedence for the present age over antiquity. Wendelin Foerster (Halle. to decipher the hidden—which is to say. Des l’avoit as autres prestee. brought into conjunction with the exegesis of the Old Testament and then typologically construed. Mes des Grezois ne des Romains Ne dit an mes ne plus ne mains. via the translatio studii. and with this demand he stands on its head the classical notion of the world’s four ages. the precedence that old copper is otherwise given over new gold. 21. Knighthood and knowledge. 328. 1910). from Athens to Rome and from Rome to France where. have traveled. which had merely been on loan to the ancients. bespeaks the ´ ´ pride of one who sees his own time as the pinnacle of world-historical progress. This meaning will eventually. Cliges. His protest against the low regard in which the present is normally held makes use of the argument that in every century pp. 30–44. The full and objective meaning of the text is initially hidden and only unfolds in the course of time through the new commentaries of later readers. Que Grece ot de chevalerie Le premier los et de clergie. . It becomes possible. D’aus est la parole remese Et estainte la vive brese. 226. 3–14. Puis vint chevalerie a Rome Et de la clergie la some. once it gets its last gloss. 1–2] ´ ´ On the Translatio studii and Translatio imperii.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 337 Priscianus’s observation that grammar. see Sporl. Qui ore est an France venue. ll. see Buck. leaving any judgment on her work to the superior discretion of posterity. pp. Ce nos ont nostre livre apris. [Chretien de Troyes. by her contemporary Chretien de Troyes. the prologue to Cliges (circa 1176). then. ed. God willing.” ¨ p. But while Marie de France modestly inserts herself into the ongoing process of deciphering the true. the Christian—meaning of ancient writings for the ﬁrst time because these meanings had remained in darkness for the ancient “philosophers” or pagan poets. become fully apparent in a form that has been manifest to divine wisdom from the very beginning. “Gab es einen Humanismus im Mittelalter?” p. On the medieval use of Priscianus. “Das Alte und das Neue im Mittelalter. they have found their permanent home. has made progress in the last few centuries. which need therefore advance no further. Des doint qu’ele i soit retenue Et que li leus li abelisse Tant que ja mes de France n’isse L’enors qui s’i est arestee.
p. “Das Alte und das Neue im Mittelalter. p. cuius adhuc nunc ultime partes extant. ed.” pp. 1914). horum scilicet centrum annorum curriculum. however.23 Historically. The new term. cuius tocius in his. 23. but which cannot be followed here. Modernitas appears then as an interlude or middle phase in the progression onwards toward some third and higher stage. ¨ . we will rediscover.22 His tract De nugis curialium (written between 1180 and 1192) is also notable for its multiple uses of the new word modernitas. the Christian moderni’s three-stage theory of his22. easily understood. Nostra dico tempora modernitatem hanc. A certain consciousness of time takes shape here not simply in the antithesis of past and present. which is expressly deﬁned here for the ﬁrst time: when he calls “our times” modernitas. See also EL. 59). cum adhuc aliqui supersint centennes. The ﬁrst known usage of modernitas is therefore derogatory. The word modernitas was not Map’s own coinage. dico nostram modernitatem. which had been convened by Pope Gregory in order to call to mind the instructions handed down by the church fathers but now forgotten by modernitas nostra (see M. [Map. from Peter Damiani to Joachim of Fiore. et inﬁniti ﬁlii. with a view to a twofold temporal break. But see Sporl. which will be achieved in the future by reformatio. “one break at the end of the exemplary age of the antiqui and a second just before the immediate present. ad divinacionem futura. it could serve as the horizon of memory for later generations right down to our own current modernity. It appears as early as the eleventh century in a report composed by Berthold von der Reichenau on the Lenten synod at Rome of 1075. though under rather diﬀerent circumstances.338 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition modernitas has been unpopular (“omnibus seculis sua displacuit modernitas”). 336–41. Montague R. cum eiusdem tamen sint racionis secundum propinquitatem. 81. this classiﬁcation coincides more or less with the twelfth-century Renaissance. Centum annos qui eﬄuxerunt. as Freund has shown. so his own work will only command respect after some remote future has conferred antiquity upon it. because the events (notabilia) from this period are still fresh. quoniam ad narracionem pertinent preterita. p. p. De nugis curialium. De nugis curialium. functionally. whose vocation it is to reinstate that distant antiquitas” (M. rather. que notabilia sunt. is part and parcel of reformist thought during the Conﬂict of Investitures. 59] 24. kicks oﬀ a development that will remain conspicuous throughout the age of early monastic reform. 158. Walter Map. it arises. 1. satis est recens et manifesta memoria. qui ex patrum et avorum relationibus certissime teneant que non viderunt. he speciﬁes that he means the last hundred years.24 As we turn now to the beginnings of the humanist Renaissance. James (Oxford. the century just expired. and narratable. et non qui veniunt. This threefold division of time. and M. p. 67). p. which belongs to a reformist historical consciousness. 25 n. immediately in the memory of all men.
and Joachim of Fiore: “The original period of achieved perfection moves to the middle of time and takes on the character of a turning-point into fulﬁllment. ¨ 27. and it does so by showing that the sense of good fortune that comes from being able to live here and now in a newly emergent world is. we ﬁnd another image. p. See Ohly. The notion that an epoch. 7 vols. 26. in addition to that of return. 1859]. ed. Per costui la morta poesia meritamente si puo dire suscitata” (Boccaccio.” The famous cry with which Ulrich von Hutten. 15. “Ad patriam venio longis a ﬁnibus exul” (quoted in “R. Heus tu. can—straightaway. that the muses had ﬁnally returned from a long period of exile. L. . 1955]. . a kind of archetype for the dawning of a new age. 25 Oct.” which begins. for the dawning of a new intellectual golden age. 28. greets the revival of learning and great minds (“Vigent studia. from its very onset—become conscious of itself has clearly hardened into a scheme for historical thought.”25 4 “O seculum! O litterae! Iuvat vivere. it is just waiting to be exiled! “Barbarism” means the now-sundered past of the Middle Ages. il quale primo doveva al ritorno delle Muse. 13). . “Renaissance: The Word and the Underlying Concept. the barbarism of the period just ended is in for a fateful reversal of the historical situation. For the step across such thresholds is not always bound up with the perception that. Vigent studia. the 1323 poem by Benvenuto Campesani on the discovery of a Catullus manuscript. hereafter abbreviated “R”). and that is the image of resurrection (de resurrectione Catulli).27 In a very early source. Schriften.” called media aetas in the typologically conceived world of salvation history and capable of attaining the dignity of a “high middle age. Heus tu. having undertaken the step from the old to the new. exilium prospice” (Ulrich von Hutten. ﬂorent ingenia”) points to something more than the changed consciousness of a single epoch.” p. See “Versus domini Benevenuti de Campexanis de Vicencia de resurectione Catulli poete Veronensis. Vita di Dante ` [1357–59]. Bonaventura. exilium prospice: barbarism will be put in chains. in a special sense. aprir la via. barbaries. for instance. quoted in B. Bilibalde. set oﬀ by a unique experience of the past or the old days.” Studies in the Italian Renaissance [Rome. accipe laqueum. 1518. ﬂorent ingenia. sbandite d’Italia. accipe laquium. lo.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 339 tory and especially that “middle phase. barbaries. [Leipzig. and this makes it diﬃcult to recognize the utterly diﬀerent experience that characterizes the thresholds to other epochs—the beginning of the Enlightenment.26 It has become proverbial or paradigmatic. “Synagoga und Ecclesia. 359). Hutten’s letter goes on to refer to the historical situation. 1:217). Eduard Bocking. in a 1518 letter to Willibald Pirkheimer. “O seculum! o litterae! Iuvat vivere. . the time of the church and of eschatology” (p.28 Soon afterwards the image of a literary 25. common since Boccaccio. This image ties into the notion. etsi quiescere nondum iuvat. “Questi fu quel Dante. everything has become new again. Gerhoh von Reichersberg. Ullmann. letter to Bilibald Pirckheymer.” who cites passages from works by Rupert von Deutz.
17). and modernity.30 These images precede the later metaphoric of the Renaissance. ed. “Ea igitur iacente sine cultu. appropriates ancient materials. For in the so-called twelfth-century Renaissance. a gap.” p. the texts in question approach the ancient inheritance with a remarkably free hand. Die Sakularisierung der universalhistorischen Auﬀassung ¨ (Gottingen. which for them are a dark age.340 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition reawakening will be used in reference to Petrarch and the great Florentine writers. The period just ended appears here as nothing more than a via negationis. scouting out a past for themselves. ´ ´ ´ ` Anthime Fourrier (Paris. 32. so. in the Christian reformers’ typological conception of history. had been reserved for the media aetas as an elevated period of transition. According to Adalbert Klempt. empty and dark. to the same ﬁnding. 1960).31 The humanists reinstate the grand antithesis between the antiqui and the moderni. as barbarism or obscurity. quasi ex abysso tenebrarum eruptam revocavit in lucem. which suggests that no one was yet penned in by some humanist principle of textual ﬁdelity. Moyen Age. which construes the revival in organic terms. This new remoteness is the clearest index by which to distinguish medieval humanism from the humanism of the Renaissance proper. iacentem erexit in pedes” (quoted in “R.32 The humanists of the Italian Renaissance do not yet 29. The modernity of the incipient Renaissance at ﬁrst negates the threefold division of history that would later emerge from this moment in the form of a worldhistorical framework: antiquity. the notion of the media aetas or medium aevum was current among the ¨ humanists as early as 1518. which. vir maximus Dantes Allagherii. not in the centuries that have just been sloughed oﬀ. See Nathan Edelmann. it employs and modernizes its models with remarkable openhandedness. in its ﬁrst ﬂowering. “The Early Uses of Medium Aevum.” p. for having helped it back on its feet from its position of utter prostration. a freedom that later humanists would not seize for a good long time—in pseudo-ancient romances. who have become both more remote and better understood. 14. And whenever the vernacular literature.29 And Filippo Villani praises Dante for having summoned poetry back from an abyss of darkness. sine decore. Middle Ages. the moderni stood in such easy proximity to their ancient prototypes that they could just as well have been reading works from their own period. via diﬀerent paths. Instead of the expected imitation des anciens. middle ages. 1938): 3–25. which it has only just put behind it. See L’Humanisme medieval dans les litteratures romanes du XIIe au XIVe siecle. The ﬁrst known usage occurs in the formulation media tempestas in a 1496 letter by Giovanni Andrea. but in some rediscovered antiquitas of Greek and Roman authors. The image is used by Coluccio Salutati.” Romanic Review 14 (Feb. 31. occupies the position that. see “R. the character of a separate epoch or even of a preliminary stage. 1964). and they come. 30. dataque manu. from the humanist moderni’s view. with . Underlying all of them is a consciousness of modernity that is rather curious in that it refuses to grant its own past. The publication of one of the Strasbourg Colloquia is enough to provide a glimpse into this phenomenon. The papers collected here examine l’humanisme medieval in the ´ ´ vernacular literatures during and after the Renaissance of the twelfth century.
which. Lingua. recalls the moment when they were sitting together on the ruins of Diocletian’s baths. until word-for-word renditions appear on the scene. visible here in the metaphorics of the dark interlude. on the occasion of his coronation as poet laureate. this is experienced as a distance from perfection and is at the root of the new attitude of imitatio and aemulatio. as directed towards its telos in an irreversible succession of stages.and trecento. See also Theodor E. they possess. in which another type of linguistic reverence makes itself felt. the eclipse of ancient Rome thus anachronistic abandon. 232. 1933–42]. nove autem ex illo usque ad hanc etatem” (Francesco Petrarch. ancient culture began its descent into darkness. [Florence. is transposed into its opposite meaning (the fons mortis becomes a fons vitae). talking about the past and divvying up history into two great periods. p. 1963). . 4 vols. “Petrarch’s Conception of the ‘Dark Ages. e societa: Studi salla storia della prosa italiana (Milan. His letter to Giovanni Colonna. This shift from the medieval to the humanistic attitude towards the classical texts has also been demonstrated on the evidence of Italian vulgarizations of the due. with the fall of the Roman Empire. as an event. to arrange the antithesis of antiqui and moderni. p. 1942): 226–42.”34 Ancient and modern history are henceforth divided for him at a signiﬁcant turning point: the moment when Rome fell under the rule of “barbarians. Le Familiari. which has made it possible.’” p. in historiographical terms. in Petrarch. Epistolae de rebus familiaribus. Mommsen. stile.33 In his tract De viris illustribus Petrarch had wanted to linger over this second period. In the realm of the arts. whose account I follow here.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 341 regard themselves as separated from their medieval forebears by a new era in which ancient culture has been reawakened. In 1341. for the moment. ` 33. Petrarch visited Rome for the second time. 34. we see the ﬁrst signs of the Renaissance’s new understanding of history. above all. which are appropriated in free adaptations. “Petrarch’s Conception of the ‘Dark Ages. in the Roman de la rose.’” Speculum 17 (Apr. et dicantur antique quecunque ante cenebratum Rome et veneratum romanis princibus Cristi nomen. into a periodic cycle of recurrence or rebirth. In Petrarch’s version of history.” when. in antiquis ego viderer expertior. quoted in Mommsen. with whom he had once made the rounds of the city. becomes visible. ut in novis tu. a rather diﬀerent consciousness of the historical distance between antiquity and their own present. the ancient and the modern. an exemplary antiquity and a self-conscious modernity. In the literary tradition. 56. this turning away from a notion of history as linear. In the notion of the Dark Ages. or in the rewriting of the Narcissus myth. quas ita partiti videbamur. “Multis de historiis sermo erat. Vittorio Rossi. See Cesare Segre. ed. 2:58). transplant ancient heroes into knightly garb and the twelfth-century present. esp. which departed from its Alexandrinian materials. tam procul tantasque per tenebras stilum ferre. or in the newly created genre of the verse romance. which found their historical dividing line in the victory of Christianity over Rome. Petrarch. but later he would refer to it as an age of darkness: “Nolui autem pro tam paucis nominibus claris. 234. or in the translation of ancient authors.
there appeared on the heels of the light metaphor the cyclical periodization of history. ed. 1965]. has its origins in Petrarch’s reinterpretation of the light metaphor to describe Rome’s fall and return. which. “La Coscienza della Rinascita negli Umanisti. Ficino. 1906). who himself occasionally uses this metaphor in its older sense. is.342 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition occupies the position that. esp. 2:58. for medieval historians. See Petrarch. religious conception.36 was presumably the ﬁrst to give it this new meaning. adduced by Mommsen. in which Petrarch charges Cicero with having gone and died just before the night of error began to fade. 227. the Christian metaphorics of light and its humanistic reinterpretation. directly side by side. Kopernikus im Selbstverstandnis der ¨ Neuzeit [Mainz. ferme iam extinctas reduxit in lucem”: Ficino takes his own epoch for a new golden age. Examples can be found in ibid. which has led the liberal arts. See the passage. Hans Blumenberg has shown how this cyclical aspect can be connected with the metaphorics of light. designating the light of ancient culture.”39 “Hoc enim seculum tanquam aureum liberales disciplinas. Luigi Mario Capelli (Paris.37 The old and the new. see Petrarch. p. si ceperit se Roma cognoscere?”38 And when. See Petrarch. Petrarch himself surely had no intention of playing the one oﬀ the other. 343). which would play such an important role in the further course of the conﬂict between the anciens and the modernes. Hutten’s contemporaries saw in the present-day ﬂourishing of learning and the arts the revival of antiquity’s lost grandeur. 1492. however. in a better future. as though in fulﬁllment of that hope. which is said to have lit itself between Copernicus and Bruno. letter dated 13 Sept. Le Familiari. 37. back into the light. will shine forth again. had been reserved for the soteriological break that was Christ’s birth. And yet the competition between linear and cyclical history. It is the sun de l’antiqua uera philosophia. 240. 9. ¨ 41. 39. which had remained implicit in Petrarch’s “age of darkness. p. and this metaphor is connected to the notion of a cyclical history.41 It is only a short step from the periodic 35. Giordano Bruno uses the image of a new light igniting to describe Copernican reform as an event: “This light. p. 38.” La Rinascita 2 (1939): 838–71 and La Rinascita 3 (1940): 163–86. In that same letter from 1341. he articulated a certain hope: “Quis enim dubitare potest quin illico surrectura sit. 40. once nearly extinguished. quoted in Fritz Schalk. But both this new worldhistorical turning point and the metaphor of darkness refer back to some original. quoted in Mommsen.451–57.35 Petrarch. 177. in which the absence of light is as ‘natural’ an occurrence as its return” (Hans Blumenberg.’” p. .” Archiv fur das Studium der neueren Sprache und Literaturen 199 (1962): 87. It is darkness that the pagans lived in before Christ brought the light of faith into the world.40 The new trope of a returning golden age is still bound up here with the light metaphor. “Petrarch’s Conception of the ‘Dark Ages. “Das goldene Zeitalter als Epoche. De sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia. 36. after darkness has been defeated. not yet the ﬂame of enlightenment. are pressed up against each other here. See Franco Simonel. Africa. fresh and pure. which gets replaced in countless other sources from the period by the metaphorics of rebirth.
even to be surpassed. after more than twenty years. 1778). ou. which raged because the modern party had pitted the notion of progress. by emulation—perhaps. sous lesquels la raison a fait de si grand progres. even so.43 But. 88). 36 vols.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 343 alternation of light and dark to the cyclical return of the golden age. and yet these modernes were by no means conscious of witnessing the dawn of a 42. But with this short step the dark ages between Rome’s fall and its return shrivel to a mere passageway. dont le versiﬁcateur Boileau n’etait pas en etat d’apprecier le merite: La Mothe. et quelques autres. / Cosi nasce dal ferro un secol d’oro” (quoted in ibid. the transition from the old to the new is hard to recognize here because it transpired under entirely diﬀerent circumstances. In other words.. at the end of this period. as emerging from the incineration of an iron age but that nonetheless becomes conscious of its modernity by turning back to an ideal past. universalist image of world and man was introduced by Charles Perrault on 27 January 1687. Boindin. splitting them into two opposing camps only. at the height of French classicism. which had hitherto been a historical designation. 12:367: “Ce Perrault. et des metiers. It began a new querelle des anciens et des modernes. its own world.” ` . In this quarrel. 5 The protest that. in a session of the Academie ´ Francaise. by gazing in admiration at the archetype of a perfection once achieved by antiquity and to be achieved again. who. which would ¸ engulf all the leading minds of the day. the memory of which is snuﬀed out as soon as it has been traversed. glossing its own scene with the image of the phoenix. 43. we see the transition to a new epoch. Denis ´ ´ ´ Diderot and Jean d’Alembert. “Come la fenice / Rinasce dal broncon del vecchio alloro. The last wagon in the Florentine Carnival procession of 1513 displays the Triumph of the Golden Age. ´ ´ ´ ´ Fontenelle. the fact remains that. See the Encyclopedie. in his entry on “encyclopedia. The trailblazers of enlightenment quickly adopted as a party label the term modernes. broke the spell of the humanist ideal of perfection and that led to the dismantling of the classical. by contrast with the Renaissance. Dictionnaire raisonne des sciences. against the anciens and their belief in the transhistorical exemplarity of the ancient world. rising into the air out of its own ashes. on the weighty testimony of Diderot.42 such is the symbol of an epoch that understands itself. p. Terrason. as Werner Krauss does. we see the possibility of dating the onset of the French Enlightenment as epoch. as developed by the methods of modern science and philosophy since Copernicus and Descartes. (Geneva. ed. someday.” does in fact exalt Fontenelle and Perrault as the trailblazers of enlightenment. des arts. One could at this point fall back. to reunite them in a new understanding that would undo the initial opposition in a way that no one had anticipated. it is thought.
hereafter abbreviated PA.” The Greeks and Romans should not really be called les anciens because successors are heirs to their predecessors’ knowledge and the present-day moderns command the heights of all previous human experience. classifying the present as a kind of senility and not. having reached its pinnacle in the siecle de Louis XIV. 452–531. much to the contrary. In fact. 1964). 357–60 and Die kopernikanische ¨ Wende (Frankfurt. they thought that humanity. hence the genuine anciens. its importance for modernity’s self-understanding. as one might expect. qu’elle a eu son enfance. 46. Charles Perrault.48 Fon` tenelle also sees the human race as having arrived at its virilite. 47. “N’est-il pas vray que la duree du monde est ordinairement regardee comme celle de la vie ´ ´ d’un homme. 113). one that understood modernity as a new beginning and neverending task. 48. p.46 and yet he did not yet connect it with a progressive historical consciousness. introduction to PA. as well as the notion. under the sign 44.49 This modernity’s new consciousness—which. Michel de Guern ´ ` (Paris. 443). Blaise Pascal. he clariﬁes that sentence by bringing in the age of the homme universel. 359 n.47 Immediately following his argument that the modernes are the genuine ancients. 45. 1998). that truth is the daughter of time. et qu’elle est presentement ˆ ˆ ´ dans sa viellesse” (PA. as the age parfait. See. 44 Behind this argument stands the formulation. Oeuvres completes. and he has established.344 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition new age. having spent its youth in antiquity and its middle age in the Renaissance. Kopernikus im Selbstverstandnis der Neuzeit. before Bacon and Giordano Bruno. as well. often adduce the sentence veritas temporis ﬁlia and was eager to demonstrate its validity for the realms of art and custom. but then ´ breaks oﬀ the analogy so as to avoid the unavoidable prognosis of old age and death. 113. in another passage. p. ed. he does not shy ˆ away from pronouncing that the development of the human race. that any insight into progress across time can be transferred onto the history of the entire human race. which means that the modernes must be the more experienced ones. sa jeunesse et son age parfait. Kopernikus im Selbstverstandnis der Neuzeit. p. for instance. 2. as well. qu’il n’y a rien que le temps ne perfectionne” (PA. 1965). “Sur quelque Art que vous jettiez les yeux vous trouverez que les Anciens estoient extremement inferieurs aux Modernes par cette raison generale.45 Perrault would. In the opening dialogue of his Parallele des anciens et ` des modernes. See Buck. Blumenberg has established that Copernicus was the ﬁrst to glean this insight. 357 ¨ and p. pp. ﬁrst expressed by Giordano Bruno. in later years. See Hans Robert Jauss. might decline again. Traite du vide (1647). Parallele des anciens et des modernes en ce qui regarde les arts et les sciences ` (Munich. p. See also Blumenberg. Perrault oﬀers as his chief argument against the “prejudicial notion” that antiquity is to modernity as teacher is to pupil “que c’est nous qui sommes les Anciens. . p. made famous by Bacon. 49. had now entered into its senescence. pp. 22.
that it set for all time the benchmark of artistic perfection. ´ At ﬁrst. in France. From the diﬀerences between an50. At the end of his four-volume opus. unlike each other is the consequential upshot of the querelle. The discovery that antiquity and modernity are. by arguing that every period had its own distinct customs and thus its own distinct taste. of the comparability of ancient and modern art. which. And yet the large-scale comparison of all the arts and sciences. this argument gave rise to the new insight. to subject the ancients’ creations to the absolute criteria of bon gout. that all men were naturally equal. undertaken to this end by Perrault came to an unexpected conclusion. which is representative of the querelle’s cumulative course and eventual upshot. as the anciens themselves are. be gauged along a scale of progress. in other words. that alongside the eternally beautiful there was also the historically or conditionally beautiful. 43–60. They began. revolts against the anciens’ regard for antiquity as origin and norm and thus also against the self-understanding of an accomplished French classicism—is caught between understanding its own present as humanity’s twilight and. he has become unsure. and. seeing history in the light of critical reason as moving inexorably onwards in the age of progress. diverted the historians’ gaze to the dimension of unrepeatable time and thus ushered in the Enlightenment. the modernes’ spokesman feels compelled to confess that the distance between antiquity could not. in rationalist terms.50 The process that leads to this intellectual revolution can be summed up in three steps: First. in all the arts. The literary conﬂict at the turn of the seventeenth to the eighteenth century incorporates this ambivalence in the following way: the “modern” faction tries to undo the contradiction between the concept of perfection (as it pertains to the ﬁne arts) and the concept of perfectability (as it pertains to science and learning) by resolving them into the perspective of human history’s general and continuous progress. the modernes countered the claim that antiquity was without peer. It is not that Perrault now wants to deny modern poetry or oratory any claim to progress. as well. . defensively. in the meantime. now shared by both camps.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 345 of scientiﬁc progress. see Jauss. ancient and modern. second. to ˆ bring the ancients to the bar of classicism’s prevailing tastes (les bienseances). they began. that alongside beaute universelle there was also beau relatif. but rather that. the anciens responded. in the realm of the ﬁne arts. as well. to a historical understanding of ancient art. The gradual dis´ mantling of classical aesthetic norms thus led. pp. alternately. step for step. introduction to PA. via this route. On this point and for the following discussion. by arguing. In the course of the discussion. They demanded accordingly that the Homeric epics be judged by the customs of another age.
” in Grundpositionen der franzosischen ¨ ¨ Aufklarung. Krauss and Hans Mater (Berlin.” Studien zur deutschen und franzosischen Aufklarung (Berlin. 51.51 With this new view of antiquity. p. 1955).346 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition cient and modern art. a journalist will speak of the “siecle eclaire ou nous sommes.. In 1719. See Werner Krauss. ¨ Kurt Baldinger. later to be met by Montesquieu: that the diﬀerent characters of ancient and modern epochs—their genie du siecle— ´ ` be reviewed in art as in the changing forms of religion. que celui dans lequel nous avons l’honneur de vivre. p. Sur les poemes des anciens.53 The enlightened age is a siecle ´claire. 1:251–66. In the course of the eighteenth century. claim` e ´ ing for itself the title siecle humain. p. the ` lumiere du Ciel. .” As early as 1685. Saint-Evremond. and other such phenomena. 14: “The following instances come from ¨ ¨ the sphere of Francophone journalism in Holland: ‘Dans le siecle eclaire ou nous sommes. 52. Wartburg. government. Signs of a new consciousness—an awareness that the beam of enlightened reason has illuminated the way to a new and eminent age. the lumieres de la raison square oﬀ against divine illumination. Pierre Bayle speaks of a siecle philosophe—he is thinking ` of the natural sciences. which have been expanding rapidly throughout the 1680s. ¨ . On se pique ` ´ ´ ´ dans ce siecle d’etre extremement eclaire. custom. ¨ 53. 2 vols. 1968). ` ´ 1927). “Der Jahrhundertbegriﬀ im 18. 55. (Paris. in the main. 9–40. ﬁlled with pride to its modern and civilized peak. 54 As of the mid` ` century. See Krauss. (Tubingen. ed.”52 In the Enlightenment’s early ` ˆ ` ´ ´ years. unlike any previous epoch—can be found as early as the querelle and multiply in its wake. 3 vols. . Saint-Evremond was the ﬁrst to take stock of this development: “nous envisageons la nature autrement que les anciens ne l’ont regarde. ed. See Schalk.” in Festschrift W. 13. pp. he laid down a challenge. On the one hand. “Zur Semantik von ‘Aufklarung’ in Frankreich. for Christian doctrine: “C’est a nous qui vivons dans ` un siecle plus eclaire de separer le bon grain d’avec la paille . . le siecle ´claire will ` ` e ´ come to be identiﬁed more and more with one’s own century. via the varied customs of antiquity and modernity. the historical particularity of various epochs came increasingly into view. Rene de Planhol. the old.’ And in the same connection: ‘vous savez qu’il n’y a jamais eu de siecle ` si fertile en auteurs. it is common for contemporary literature to use siecle des lumieres ` ` 55 and siecle philosophique interchangeably with dix-huitieme siecle. viii. See ibid.” ` ´ ´ ` which has produced more writers than any other period. Jahrhundert.’” 54. in Oeuvres. esp. for example. v. ed. siecle philosophique. modernity’s self-understanding was bound to change as well. The em` ` ` phatic use of siecle is a manifestation of the Enlighteners’ historical self` consciousness and contributes to the word’s taking on a new meaning— “century”—in French in precisely this period. il ne ` ´ ´ ` s’agit pas de faire le docteur. 1:279. 1963). and of the new historical criticism engendered by Protestantism— and on behalf of this siecle he seizes hold of a notion that had hitherto been ` reserved. “Zur Periodisierung der Aufklarung. In his Nouvelles de la re´ publique des lettres.
each in its own way perfect. on the other hand. can be traced via the gradual disintegration of the literary form in which French classicism had. Jahrhundert. which. 18. . Krauss has shown that.” to be distinguished from the ` kingdom of God. that each century could.58 It is in this previously unencountered and epochal leitmotif that the modernity of the Enlightenment turns its back most decisively on the counterposition of the humanist anciens. 17.”59 Since the Renaissance.56 The external classiﬁcation system of centuries. claimed a historical mission of its own. derived from the notion of a human lifetime ` and meaning “reign” or “term of rule. “century. Jahrhundert. formulated in the saeculum of Enlightenment. especially Plutarch’s.” Beitrage zur romanischen Philologie 1 ` ¨ (1961): 95 and “Der Jahrhundertbegriﬀ im 18. See section 2 of this essay. conducted the querelle—a form that Schiller and Friedrich Schlegel would take up again around 1800. 96 n. as of the 1760s.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 347 Christian sense of siecle as “worldly time. “Siecle im achtzehnter Jahrhundert. the more narrow sense of siecle. “Das goldene Zeitalter als Epoche. eventually coinciding with the begin` ning and end of the new century. during its ﬁnal years. lies in the open horizon of the future’s budding perfection and no longer in the paradigms of some perfect past.” The borders of siecle’s temporal com` pass outgrew the siecle de Louis XIV. this literary genre had been cultivated after various ancient models. it ﬂourished in France as an important instrument in the polemic between the anciens and the modernes and remained popular in the eighteenth century as a way of 56. 59.” p. See Schalk. the question arises again and again whether or not actions taken in the present would hold up under the keener eyes of a more advanced mankind. On the basis of much impressive evidence culled from utopian novels and political utopias. 57. which the church had already been using. 58. like the present one. by which its claim to modernity is to be gauged.” p.57 But what most characterizes the altered historical self-consciousness of the enlightened modernes is that they began.” expands more and more until it means. 9–11. namely. thus took on board the new notion. See Krauss. the comparative “parallel. But. in epochal terms. 27. persists despite gradual fading. be seen as having a distinct content and thus as forming an epoch unto itself.” pp. to see their own day and age as standing before the forum of future history. 6 In the eighteenth century. the separating-out of antiquity and modernity into two historical epochs. “Der Jahrhundertbegriﬀ im 18. as of the Abbe de Saint-Pierre’s famous analysis of the present in ´ 1735. from this moment on. over and against the beau siecle just ` passed. See Krauss. the standard by which the history of the present is to be judged.
see Jauss. for example. On Renaissance humanism’s cyclical theory of history.60 It was still in these terms that La Harpe.348 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition representing the social and cultural history of the ancient and modern world. above all.61 This model of history made it possible. the comparative framework could take up literary themes. This is the analogy used by the humanists (and at ﬁrst by the moderns as well) to trace the course of history in general—the crowning epochs of antiquity and the eta mod` erna—as well as the more modest phases of national development. of ancient and modern heroes. which began as a literary form. and Voltaire. Jahrhunderts. “Das heroische und das sentimentale Antike-Bild in der franzosischen Literatur ¨ des 18. see Hans Baron. Chateaubriand’s Genie du Chris´ tianisme (1802). It presupposed a standard of comparison—the point de la perfection—and thus also an analogy with organic growth or biological lifespan. Cre´ billon. the treatment of Electra. that a new experience of history included both antiquity and modernity in the irreversible progression of historical time. perfection drifts further and further away from norms of universal and timeless validity and fastens instead onto the relatively beautiful. Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menscheit. Euripides. and even of ancient and modern revolutions. An account of the term perfection could make visible the process by which a new sense of history is formed: In the eighteenth century. for instance. 61. and. But it also spells the end of the vision of history developed by Renaissance humanism. They are comparable blocks of time in which the past can repeat itself as present. On a smaller scale. 1 (1959): 3–22. of ancient and Christian ethics. discussed world literature in his Lycee ou cours de literature ancienne et moderne (1786– ´ 1803).” Journal of the History of Ideas 20. was more than a neutral framework of comparison. individual” (Johann Gottfried Herder. Herder is applying the term expressly to what is unique in time and place: “Every human perfection is national. introduction to PA. Karl-Gustav . in a later formulation of Ranke’s. no. 62. of economic systems. making all epochs seem equally perfect (or. “The Querelle of the Ancients and the Moderns as a Problem for Renaissance Scholarship. by Sophocles. “equally close to God”). 1963): 166. See Buck. qualitatively dissimilar epochs. as early as 1774. but it could be carried over into other realms as well. to bring the achievements of historically distinct epochs into comparison with one another and thus to judge them by a transhistorical standard of perfection: past and present are not unique. if observed with utmost precision. via emulation. There were “parallels” of Aristotelian and Cartesian physics. ed.62 the 60. can surely be regarded as the last signiﬁcant work in this genre. For the historical parallel. 27. secular. and decay. To the extent. maturity. which is still organized much like Perrault’s comparison of the arts and sciences as practiced by the anciens on one hand and the modernes on the other. in which it can.” Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift 13 (Apr. On this theory’s afterlife in the French querelle. be achieved anew or even—by the lights of this same point de la perfection—be outdone. all of which were described as the periodic recurrence of growth. p. however.
il trace des cercles concentriques qui vont en s’elargissant. Essai historique. The ﬁgure of the spiral ´ ˆ . Dazu gehore vor allem der Irrtum de vouloir conclure de la ` ¨ societe ancienne a la societe moderne. “Der neuzeitliche Revolutionsbegriﬀ als geschichtliche Kategorie. et dont la ´ circonference s’accroıtra sans cesse dans un espace inﬁni” (EH. des temps et des hommes qui ´ ´ ` ´ ´ n’avoient aucun rapport” (EH. . ne fait que se repeter sans cesse.65 Ancient and modern societies are funGerold. which he loathed. “M’obstinant dans l’Essai a juger le present par le passe. He had been wrong to believe that he could draw inferences about modern society on the basis of ancient society or that he could compare periods and people that in actual fact had “no relation” to one another. death! a worn out corpse lying in blood—and at that point. to rouse the motivating forces that lay ﬂat—that is. of this most recent revolution. politique. 614). ed. p. [Munich. c In the version of the Essai published in 1797. je nie aujourd’hui la majeure de mes raisonnements. alternately. .d. as Chateaubriand himself attested most impressively for the French case in his Essai historique.64 It was wrong to claim. a new man was born. et moral sur les revolutions anciennes et modernes considerees dans leurs rapports avec la revolution fran´´ ¸aise. the old historiography of humanity’s life cycle by simply splitting the homme universel in two: Anyone who considers the condition of the Roman lands (and they were formerly the cultured universe!) in the last centuries will admire and marvel at Providence’s curious way of replenishing human powers .). 1953].” Studium Generale 22 (1969): 825–38. Au contraire (et ´ pour continuer l’image). And with that the historical parallel lost its meaning. 2:39] 63. The beauties of Roman law and knowledge were unable to replenish powers that had disappeared. p. politique.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 349 comparability of history itself vanished. decided in advance. in other words. et moral sur les revolutions ¸ ´ ´ anciennes et modernes. n. ` ´ ´ ´ ´ mais je pars d’un mauvais principe. de juger. if one wanted to retain this image.. 614–15). better to think of circles expanding concentrically into inﬁnity—spirals. Chateaubriand still aimed at examining whether the new revolutionary government rested on “true principles” and thus promised to endure or whether. on the other hand. .”63 ´ ´ ´ The comparison is carried out on ﬁve ancient and seven modern revolutions and results in a discrediting. the new sense of antiquity and modernity’s historical diﬀerence and. les uns par les autres. to reconstruct nerves that felt no breath of life. 2 vols. [Ibid. 2:31). on the one hand. et tous ces raisonnments tombent a terre. 65. he considered it necessary to comment extensively on his old text and not only out of political opportunism but because he had. This break away from humanism’s cyclical theory of history is also clear in another of Herder’s moves. “Le genie de l’homme ne circule point dans un cercle dont il ne peut sortir. hereafter abbreviated EH. But when Chateaubriand published a new edition of the Essai in 1826. in the north. L. that human destiny traveled in a perpetual circle. He gets himself out of the contradiction between. pp. Francois-Rene Chateaubriand. Louvet (Paris. even this change in world circumstance would lead to the realization “que l’homme faible dans ses moyens et dans son genie. in the meantime. come to the conclusion that the historical parallels he had drawn in 1797 were mistaken in their very premises. 64. je deduis bien des consequences. 613. See also Reinhard Koselleck. additionally.
with Boethius serving as epochal border point. quoique l’architecture moderne ne soit belle. that developed in the historical thinking of the Enlightenment. in the very next sentence. When. expressly conceiving of its modernity as the experience of a rediscovered Christian and national past. Replacing the polemically laden term ancien. in the historical consciousness of a new generation. but it also leads out the analogy with organic life. Nothing about the present can be demonstrated or learned from the past. which conﬁgured its opposition to antiquity in a new way. which. for ˆ instance. makes the overtly classicist move of pledging its allegiance to the gout ˆ de l’antique—here sees its antipodes in “Gothic taste.350 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition damentally dissimilar and thus not legitimately comparable. of the intellectual revolution that broke onto the scene when the querelle came to an end. at last. Modern taste—which. Naude appelle modernes parmi les auteurs latins. Nothing in history repeats itself. it takes pains to specify that in matters of taste moderne no longer stands in categorical opposition to ancien but rather to anything de mauvais gout. places its historically variable opposition to antiquity in a diﬀerent light. the word clasmakes possible a compromise between a historical progression that is periodic and one that runs irreversibly into inﬁnity. In France. thinks of itself as romantic. tous ceux qui ont ecrits apres Boece. On a ´ ´ ` ` beaucoup dispute de la preeminence des anciens sur les modernes. it has to borrow from the brothers Schlegel: classical. in its 1779 edition.”66 Twenty years later. designates its opposition to antiquity with a word that. gothic architecture. With this lapidary comment. The new modernity. the Encyclopedie uses the terms anciens and modernes in order to distinguish ´ antiquity and modernity. Chateaubriand attests to the utter triumph of historicism—the triumph. qu’autant qu’elle approche du gout de ˆ l’antique. One could show in detail how moderne gradually withdrew from the antithesis to ancien and entered instead into other oppositions. it is precisely the gout de gothique. and that culminated. antique will now often take over the function of designating the modern world’s historical distance from the ancient. par opposition a l’architecture ` ˆ ` gothique. that is. 22:24] ´ . [Encyclopedie. les premiers n’ont pas manque d’illustres defenseurs. that inaugurates a new self-understanding of modernity. 7 This process leading up over the eighteenth century to this epochal change is reﬂected in etymology as well. in this meaning. 66. which. in turn. after the turn of the century. the return to the Middle Ages as underˆ taken by Chauteaubriand’s poetry or the ﬁrst historical novels. Moderne se dit ´ ´ encore en matiere de gout: ainsi l’on dit l’architecture moderne. et quoique ceux-ci aient eu ´ ´´ de nombreux partisans.
Tout ecrivain qui pense solidement et qui sait ˆ ´ ` ´ ´ s’exprimer d’une maniere a plaire aux personnes de gout appartient a cette classe: on ne doit ` ` ˆ ` chercher des auteurs classiques que chez les nations ou la raison est parvenue a un haut degre de ` ` ´ culture. preserved the sense of the exemplary. that classic was still understood in the normative sense of a canon that could encompass both ancient and modern authors.” ˆ 69. On the basis of new material. but from 1751 on he employs the formulation nos auteurs classiques. ushered in by the notion. 1857).”68 The history of the word has at this point led us to the epochal moment in which a new generation announces its historical self-understanding by christening its modernity with a name of its own. Cette division se rapporte egalement aux deux ´ eres du monde: celle qui a precede l’establissement du christianisme. p. De l’Allemagne (1810. the age of Louis XIV slipped over the horizon of lived experience.” ¨ ¨ . en considerant la poesie classique comme celle des ´ ´ anciens. In his Lettres philosophiques (1734). 1932). W. throughout its history. in fact. See Madame de Stael. “Franzosische Aufklarung und deutsche Romantik. Madame de Stael had to go out of her way to explain that classique in ¨ A. where she warns that anyone ¨ who does not accept this distinction will never succeed in “juger sous un point de vue philosophique le gout moderne. in which Voltaire constructs a ﬁrst canon of classical ˆ French poetry from the preceding age of Louis XIV. there had appeared the programmatic poem Le Temple du gout. of modernity to the Middle Ages as its proper past and to antiquity as a now remote past. and was elevated to the status of France’s classical age.67 As late as 1810. which binds the present to its autochthonous origins. What’s more. the relationship indicated by this antithesis had already developed in France—the relationship. Over the course of the eighteenth century. in the end. Schlegel’s sense of the word was not a synonym for parfait but referred rather to the two great periods in world literature: “Je m’en sers ici dans une autre acception. see Pierre Moreau’s Le Classicisme des romantiques (Paris. in the eighteenth century. in the meantime. The rediscovery of the Middle Ages did not take shape against the Enlightenment. which had already developed in antiquity. understood now as an irretrievable. le romantisme. but they did not have to borrow the things themselves. p. Krauss has. and disassociates it from classical antiquity.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 351 sique had not yet appeared in opposition to moderne because the French term had. well before the import of Herder’s and Schlegel’s ideas. that is. when. The French may have borrowed the terms classique/romantique from the Germans. broke away to form a completed past. 145. corrected any prejudice about “the Enlightenment’s hostility to history” (Krauss. The subsequent history of the word classique in the eighteenth century shows. Paris. et la poesie romantique comme celle qui tient de quelque maniere ´ ` aux traditions chevalereques. historically regarded past. Voltaire still refers to the bons ouvrages du siecle de Louis ` XIV. 5. widespread 67. the meaning of the phrase nos auteurs classique did not narrow suﬃciently to serve as a periodizing term. Compare the Encyclopedie’s entry on classique: “Classique se dit aussi des auteurs memes modernes qui peuvent ´ ˆ etre proposes pour modele par la beaute du style. et celle ` ´ ´ ´ ´ qui l’a suivi. the Christian Middle Ages.” 68. Between these two dates.69 it was.
71 It is possible to follow in this a reciprocal process by which modernity and antiquity drift both towards one another and further apart. which Montesquieu.” Oeuvres de Fenelon. or in the lionized conception of the political life of the Greek polis and the Roman Republic.352 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition by the end of the querelle. Abbe Du Bos’s Histoire critique de l’establissement de la Monarchie Francoise dans les Gaules from 1734. one begins to regard antiquity—which has gone from being an emulatable model to a historical antitype—in ever-changing stylizations of its historical otherness: in the idealized. On the one hand. in the Esprit des lois. alternately. “Le point le plus necessaire et le plus rare pour un historien est qu’il sache exactement la ´ forme du gouvernement et le detail des moeurs de la nation dont il ecrit l’histoire. p. 70 Both the ﬁrst attempts at a new. was to give its richest orchestration: that every nation. Hunter (1646. The following comments ¨ complement his thesis by examining the perspectives that opened out for the Enlightenment’s historical thought from la querelle des anciens et des modernes. in his 1714 Lettre a ´ ` l’Academie. From this notion there sprang a further idea. ¨ Jahrhunderts. 108–18. Buck has discussed this development under the rubric of “antiquity’s afterlife”. Henri Comte de ˆ Boulainvillier’s Essai sur la noblesse de France is from 1732. as an exemplary and national past. “Lettre a M. See Raymond Naves. ´ implying a comparison to antiquity while still clinging to the notion of a “dark interval. that the ancient and modern worlds were simply diﬀerent. 219—by my reckoning the earliest introduction of antiquite to designate a national and medieval past. Alfred C. pp. 5:478). De la lecture des vieux romans. they get described in their institutions and customs as a time of heroic and Christian virtue and are brought to the present in the exemplary continuity of this or that naWissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Karl-Marx-Universitat Leipzig 12 ). Paris. 70. 1936). 1854]. “Das heroische und das sentimentale Antike-Bild in der franzosischen Literatur des 18. pour chaque ´ ´ siecle. The description of the Middle Ages as a “modern antiquity” comes from Jean Chapelain.72 On the other hand. and not just every historical period. Antiquity’s changed status—from model to antitype—would make clear the historical process whose meaning has been mostly profoundly and decisively delineated by Schiller.” If one considers the historicization of antiquity initiated by the querelle.” 71. the Middle Ages get recovered. in the antithesis between the naıve and the sentimental. historical criti´ cism (which. or. Dacier. elevates to a demand that a history be written on the basis of ´ the detail des moeurs de la nation—also opened one’s eyes to the tenebres de ´ ` notre antiquite moderne. Un peintre qui ignore ce qu’on nomme il costume ne peint rien avec verite” (Francois de ` ´ ´ ¸ Salignac Fenelon. step by step. incommensurable “genius. ed. the same process would now have to be portrayed in another light. or ﬁnally—after the excavations of Herculanum and Pompei—in the sentimental beauty of its ruins. ¨ . bucolic images of its original simplicite and naıvete. are connected with the eﬀorts of the Academie des Inscriptions et des Belles Lettres) and the beginnings of the ﬁrst. see Buck. 1938). ´ ¸ 72. had its own unique. sur les occupations de l’Academie. [Paris. ´ politically interested representations of the Middle Ages by Boulainvilliers and Du Bos fall during or just after the querelle. 8 ´ ´ ´ ´ vols. Le Gout de Voltaire (Paris. after Raymond Naves. ´ ¨ ´ in the primal poetry of its archaism and barbarity.” The interest awakened by the querelle in the variety of customs and literature from other periods—which Fenelon.
He concluded. vous serez oblige de bannir la verite de votre ˆ ´ ´ ´ ouvrage. “Le Guerrier— ´ Deﬁnition du beau ideal”. see esp.73 ` ´ ´ ` The image of the Middle Ages that is commonly attributed to Chateaubriand and Madame de Stael can. Moeurs a la fois grossieres et respectables. Trop ` ´ ´ loin de la nature et de la religion sous tous les rapports. e 74. 197] ´ ´ ´ .74 The rediscovered poetry of the Middle Ages is now attractive not only because the Christian knight. 2. 1:8. the songs of the knights and troubadours. ´ ¸ comparables en bien des points.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 353 tional tradition. The innovation here—Chateaubriand’s distinctive contribution—lies. Genie du Christianisme (Paris. Christian one. de bravoure & de soumission. de magniﬁcence & de simplicite. who. Jean-Baptise de la Curne de Sainte-Palaye. began presenting his Memories ´ sur l’ancienne chevalerie to the Academie des Inscriptions. et moins encore le fond de nos coeurs. in his modern poetics. heathen. 11. (Paris. already be detected in ¨ Sainte-Palaye and the works of the other Enlightenment scholars who followed his lead by researching and editing medieval literature. The discovery of the medieval origins of the modern state was promptly followed by the discovery of chivalric poetry. See Chateaubriand. Memoires sur l’ancienne chevalerie. 1759–81). they were in some respects even superior (the passage could just as well come from Genie du Chris´ tianisme of 1802): Un contraste singulier de religion & de galanterie. La chevalerie seule oﬀre le ´ ´ beau melange de la verite et la ﬁction. hereafter abbreviated GC. that the customs of the Christian Middle Ages were not equal to the customs of the Homeric age. the following passage: ´ ´ Si au contraire vous chantez l’age moderne. consideree ´´ comme un ´tablissement politique et militaire. de patience & de courage. et de vous jeter a la fois dans le beau ideal moral et dans le beau ideal physique. Special mention must be made here of de la Curne de Sainte-Palaye. bk. in 1746. aussi dignes d’etre etu´ ´ ` ` ˆ ´ diees sur-tout par un Francois. un melange d’adresse & de ´ ´ force. heroic age and the modern. and yet it appears as an age whose high point has already passed. chap. in the service of which scholarly research and popular editions worked hand in hand. in many respects. then. 3 vols. the age of modernity (l’age moderne) that comprises both the ˆ Christian Middle Ages and the historical present. ˆ ´ a celles des temps heroiques chantes par Homere. af´ ter a lifetime of study. [P. which ushers in romanticism. de belles actions produites par un motif chimerique & de functions Presque serviles ennobles par un motif ´ eleve. All that was left for the Genie du Christianisme was to carry out the analogies already ´ sketched out between the two antiquities—the old. on ne peut representer ﬁdelement ´ ` l’interieur de nos menages. suspended in the opposition between barbaric social conditions and a perfect 73. & memes supeierues en quelques uns. que celles des Grecs ou des Orientaux. 1948).
eventually linking history and landscape—the lure of the faraway and the perception of unconstrained nature—so tightly together that the turn of the century’s generation found its consciousness of modernity aptly expressed in the correspondence between the two? The major stages in the word’s history sketched out here can be reduced to a common denominator. 8 How could a word that in its origins designated the bygone world of the old chivalric romances come over the eighteenth century to mean a new feeling for nature. . . transcends the ´ contemporary because it experiences beauty only in the no-longer. See Friedrich Schlegel. ed. Nature will remain the guiding principle of culture until it has lost this right . 195] ¨ 76. artiﬁcial culture must follow natural culture .354 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition religion. . Paul Hankammer (Godesberg. . The Genie ¨ ´ ´ du Christianisme is still missing a word for this. 195). .” The prehistory of “the romantic” oﬀers the best imaginable example of the “artiﬁcial origin of modern poetry. et qui tend sans cesse a l’immensite. it experiences the authentic only in the sentimental return to naıvete. lives up to the highest notions of heroism and ideal beauty but also because true poetry requires “cette vieillesse et cette incertitude de tradition que demandent les muses”. it arises. 1947). one ﬁnds unmistakable traces of the artiﬁcial origin of modern poetry. qui sent ce vice des aﬀaires humaines. 62: Art must follow nature. p. p. [GC. . C’est qu’au fond les plus grands evenements de la terre sont petits en eux-memes: notre ´ ´ ˆ ame. whose history we turn to now. the material may have been provided by nature. therefore. which Friedrich Schlegel has surely given its sharpest formulation: the separation of modern from ancient art is directed by “governing concepts”.”76 The word was ﬁrst derived from the Middle Latin romanice (“poetry in 75. . mais nous aimons a entendre raconter des faits obscurs qui sont deja loin de ´ ˆ ` ´ ` nous. which Chateaubriand deﬁnes as an “indeterminacy of the passions” unknown to antiquity and that he personiﬁed in the ﬁgure of Rene. it is “artiﬁcial culture. but the guiding principle of aesthetic culture was not the drive. but rather certain governing concepts. Uber das Studium der griechischen Poesie. Even in the earliest periods of European culture. p. The power. tache de ne les ˆ ` ´ ˆ voir que dans le vague pour les agrandir. The reasoning here seeks to explain why true literature is a poetry of the past and cannot be found in the present: Nous voyons chaque jour se passer sous nos yeux des choses extraordinaires sans y prendre aucun interet. from historical distance and a whiﬀ of the faraway (GC. a word that would bring together a sentimental relationship to nature with the lure of the historically remote as discovered in medieval poetry—the word romantic.75 Modernity’s sense of self.
the Wallﬂower . romanz. events in antiquated places and similar settings and eventually in the solitude of nature itself. Creative. gives as ﬁrst citation the following title from the year 1650: Th.” “romancial. 78.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 355 the vernacular”) to designate the most successful postancient genre. the romance (Fr.” Compare Baldensperger.v. 79.” p. As early as 1654. Partly Romantic. Morally Divine. p. of 1764. 1155. ¨ . This is what marks the path to the world-understanding of the romantic generation. 1893]. or the prosaically real. The following citation—from the entry on romantisch in the Grimm Brothers’ dictionary— sums up this development: “Hartenstein.” “romancy”. . in the ﬁrst ed. but its ascendancy began at a time when the distance between the medieval romance world and contemporary life was strongly felt. one tends to call them romanisch (or romanhaft in a later edition)” (Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. “Romance story. the merely ﬁctional. which came to the fore around 1800—the steps of a progressive transferal of the word romantic onto moments of real life and aspects of nature. Deutsches Worterbuch [Leipzig. “‘Romantique. p. 7). to whom we have referred for all earlier literature. The adjective romantic appears for the ﬁrst time in England between 1650 and 1660 in various forms and spellings. Baldenberger.” “romancial tales. “romantisch”). the nonﬁctional.79 But what was dismissed by disparagers of novels and critics of the imagination did not cease to be alluring for romance readers for whom the improbability of the plots was the most strange and gripping thing about them and for whom the extravagance of emotions could come across as unusual. the word romantic develops into a byword for the improbable.78 From this root meaning—“something that only happens in romances. and I write that to you without romantic exaggeration. 3–17. insofar as beauty or the sublime exceeds their familiar averages. conversely.’ ses analogues et ses equivalents. “‘Romantique.” Harvard ´ Studies and Notes in Philology and Literature 19 (1937): 13–105. This feeling both sparked a critique of the romance and laid bare a new aesthetic allure in anything romancelike. Originality. hereafter abbreviated FW. romount).’ ses analogues et ses equivalents. the hysterical (see FW. 75. Herba Parietis: Or. not in real life”—there emerge side-by-side both a derogatory meaning and a laudatory one.80 And so the word romantic develops. see Logan Pearsall Smith. At the beginnings of this development there are places that call romances to mind and that are therefore described as romantic.77 It means “resembling the old romances” and is thus the opposite of the true. the chimerical. 1924). John Evelyn was recording in his diary that “Salisbury Plain reminded me of the 77. . On the one hand. later romantische handlungen [romantic plots]. Bayly. even admirable. ´ 80. Thus in Goethe’s Werther (1774): “It is settled. Lotte. Being a History Which Is Partly True. Genius (Oxford. s. pp. with an eye to the feelings of the romance characters themselves. with the allure of the romancelike soon insinuating itself into comparable real-life events. I mean to die. from the unrealistically romancelike to the out-of-the-ordinary and further on to the poetic. Four Words: Romantic. See Fernand Baldensperger. or. Eng.
25). we ﬁnd the ﬁrst evidence of the extension of romantic to describe an out-of-the-ordinary event. quoted in FW. 10–11). And so it happened that in 1776.” Elsewhere.’” “‘romantic’ mountain. A few years later. Wheatley. in the eighteenth century. the French translator of Shakespeare.” p. The romantic moment is distinct because it fulﬁlls an expectation that ordinarily only a romance—and not real life—could redeem. in Samuel Pepys’s diary. and the place altogether answers the most poetical description that can be made of solitude. Letourneur. in which romantic is transferred from old castles and romancelike settings to unconstrained nature. hangs.” . 13). in Aristotelian poetics. palpable. 1893–99). 82. yet true: “romantique” comes close here to stepping into the formulation that. found that romanesque did not properly capture the sense of romantic. The texts show step by step how the romantic qualities of landscapes were ﬁrst viewed by way of analogy with descriptions in romances. romantic. for instance.”81 Improbable. (London. 11: “‘oaks romantic.” “where the dun umbradge o’er the falling strem. through a mist of associations and sentiments derived from poetry and ﬁction” (FW. Henry B. which. pp. At a funeral. John Evelyn’s diary entry for June 23. he trots out the new word for just such a memory: “There is also on the side of this horrid Alp a very romantic seat near Bath” (quoted in FW. establishes the higher truth of poetry over history. a group of simple sailors movingly declare their loyalty to their dead commander. entry for 13 June 1666.356 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition pleasant lives of the shepherds we read of in romances. though in Pepys’s comments it serves only to give the “poetry of life” an edge over prosaic reality. ´ 83. This is no less true of its further development. precipice. The Diary of Samuel Pepys. romanticism is an attitude that sees itself as viewing life through the medium of literary experience and sensation. Thus. “‘Romantique. which Pepys introduces with the following words: “There happened this extraordinary case—one of the most romantique that ever I heard of in my life. The artiﬁcial origin of the romantic sense of nature is. p. 1679: “The grotts in the chalky rock are pretty: ’tis a romantic object. and could not have believed. leading him to borrow the word romantique back from English to describe the romantic qualities of nature.83 With this semiotic turn. the English word romantic moved further away from its French counterpart romanesque. p. Letourneur. Samuel Pepys. at this point.’ ses analogues et ses equivalents.82 from which they later became more and more detached so that ever since Addison’s Remarks on Italy (1705) and Thomson’s Seasons (1726–30) natural scenes get called romantic even when they no longer call to mind potentially romancelike events. prospect” (quoted in Baldensperger. as Logan Pearsall Smith long since recognized: “It is Nature seen through the medium of literature. See James Thomson’s Seasons. ed. In these terms. like Girardin soon after him (De la composition des 81. but that I did see it. 9 vols. 5:307. retained the narrower sense of the romancelike.
p. et l’autre . as cultivated by the romantic school in Germany and then brought to France by Madame de Stael. ´ 85. of a world sunk into the distant past and only knowable by its relics. et la ˆ ´ poete. however. des paysages. also explains why the word pittoresque is not an adequate substitute for romantic in this context. et l’impression touchante que nous en recevons.” To the quoted passage.84 Like the romanesque. on desire s’y reposer. ´ ´ . or painting.” 86. or “interesting” eﬀect nature engenders: “Si la situation pittoresque enchante les yeux. .” p. c’est un point de l’etendue qui prete au peintre et qui ´ ˆ merite d’etre distingue et saisi par l’art.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 357 paysages ). qui rappellent a ` l’imagination les descriptions de poemes et des romans. which leads from 84. mais les ` ´ ´ ´ chretiens lui trouverent mille charmes. of romance. and yet all memory of the artiﬁcial formation of the romantic sense of nature is not thereby extinguished. 76). There is no need to trace out this other lineage behind the word romantic (or the German romantisch). Mais s’il est Romantique.v. si la situation poetique interesse l’esprit et la memoire. parce que celui-ci designe pluto la fable du roman. il est une autre situation que la nature seule peut oﬀrir: c’est la sit` uation Romantique.’ ses analogues et ses equivalents. Ro¨ manticism understood as the aesthetic experience of nature. bk. Chateaubriand: “Jusqu’a ce moment la solitude avait ete regardee comme aﬀreuse. Romantique. which Chateaubriand described in his chapter on the modern poesie descriptive that ´ Christianity had made possible—he called it the poetry of solitude—86 this romanticism had to fuse ﬁrst with romanticism understood as the allure. melancholy. in fact. the literary analogy that underwrites its original function: “Il se dit ordinairement des lieux. the picturesque or painterly refers to the objective qualities of an image or natural scene. has less to do with the objective beauty of nature than it does with the subjective. Les anachoretes ecriverent de la douceur du rocher et des ´ ` ` ´ delices de la contemplation: c’est le premier pas de la poesie descriptive” (GC.presupposes a scene from life or nature regarded through the medium of art. He now attributes to nature itself everything that the word romantique had imported into it from the world of romance. . l’oeil de ´ ˆ ´ ´ plait a le regarder et bientot l’imagination attendrie le peuple de scenes interessantes” (quoted in ˆ ` ˆ ` ´ Baldensperger.” ¨ The foregoing development of the word romantique does not yet capture the full concept of the romantic. retracant les scenes acra´ ´ ´ ¸ diennes en nous. Quoted in Robert. Dictionnaire alphabetique et analogique de la langue francaise. 233). Girardin clearly no longer has in mind that. no less than the picturesque. Girardin adds the following explanation: “J’ai prefere le ´ ´ ´ mot anglais. The romantic. ﬁrst discovered in medieval poetry. s. ´ ¸ “romantique. As late as 1798. in its ´ explanation of romantique. the romantic. “Si ce vallon n’est que pittoresque.”85 The romantic qualities of nature are here understood as an eﬀect produced by nature alone and touching the imagination. 1. si l’une et l’autre peuvent etre formees par le peintre. the Dictionnaire de l’Academie retains. “‘Romantique. la ´ ˆt situation. however. while the picturesque speaks only to the eyes.
then its connection to the romantic qualities of landscape will become clear. ed. and this new element accounts for its romantic character: “once it was nature. as the antiromantic Goethe testiﬁes most beautifully: “The so-called romantic quality of a region is a quiet sense of the sublime in the guise of the past or. it was—truth. it is the sensation of some lost harmony with the world’s totality!91 In 87. See Richard Ullmann and Helene Gotthard. la ´ ´ solitude des montagnes. p. it is to search out everything distant.”88 The traits that Herder singles out from the period. it was—truth.87 It may be enough to adduce a passage from Herder’s tract Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menschheit. qui ne sont que l’absence du bruit. 15). for what it is worth. les images favorites des poetes enclins a la reverie sont ` ` ˆ presque toutes enpruntees d’objets negatifs. de la lumiere. adventure and gallantry. but once true adventure of bygone time—that makes up the allure of the romantic. still preserved something of the aesthetic bearing that seemed most ﬁtting for the word in its recent adjectival forms: “The spirit of the century weaved and tied together the most incongruous qualities: bravery and monasticism. the romantic impulse is not to look for what is present. 93. 192: “Enﬁn. 1981). la paix des tombeaux.” It is not yet the rediscovered national and Christian past but rather its irrecoverably vanished present—the now improbable. as a periodizing term. to describe the entire period of chivalric and troubadour poetry (see FW.” ´ ¨ 91. tyranny and magnanimity. maxim 868 (written between 1818 and 1827). 1963) . For in nature as in history. once it was nature. 89. Erich Trunz (Munich. absence. p. Compare the following sentence from GC. 12:488. what is the same. yet still familiar time! If one takes stock of what it is that makes history romantic in this deﬁnition.” are familiar to us from de la Curne Sainte-Palaye. now alien. which shows that the word romantisch. a romantic adventure. Herder. Landschaft—Zur Funktion des Asthetischen in der modernen Gesellschaft (Munich. absent. seclusion. in Goethes Werke: Hamburger Ausgabe. The sentence that follows the passage quoted here would. explaining how it is that romantic could come. The relevant discussion is Joachim Ritter. tels que le silence des nuits. 1927). Auch eine Philosophie der Geschichte zur Bildung der Menscheit. 90. solitude. Geschichte des Begriﬀes “Romantisch” in Deutschland (Berlin. 2:45. l’ombre des bois. Maximen und Reﬂexionen.” The possible aﬃliation between the two demands closer examination. over the second half of the eighteenth century. To write history is to create an image of the lost nature of another. tied it to the totality that appears to us now—between the Romans and us—as a ghost.89 But Herder adds something to this image of the “gothic” past. ` des hommes et des inquietudes de la vie.”90 Landscape is nature in the guise of the past. serve as a description of de la Curne Sainte-Palaye: “One has compared the spirit of ‘Nordic chivalry’ with the heroic ages of the Greeks—and indeed found points of comparison.358 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition the old romances to the Italian romantic epic and then further on to Wieland. p. 88. which he still regards as an “interlude. See Goethe.
in fact. It hurries us on to the point when a new generation will root its modernity in a rather diﬀerent relationship to history. With that. humanity’s lost childhood. the newly coined term modernite no longer even understands itself as epochally opposed to some ´ determinate past. The consciousness of modernity that succeeds romanticism’s understanding of the world emerges with the experience of how quickly the romanticism of today can. If the symbiosis of the romantic and the modern falls prey to the term’s oft-observed dynamic—if. history and landscape come together in a reciprocal relationship. between ancient and modern taste. gradually loses its currency. that is. a new consciousness of the modern comes to the fore. And in the reﬂection on this process of art and taste’s accelerating historical change . Regardless of whether they located their historical archetype in the transﬁguring distance of the Christian Middle Ages or expected the peak of modern culture to arrive in the future in the form of Friedrich Schlegel’s “aesthetic revolution. This development. this consciousness develops along peculiar lines. While the word moderne’s semiotic compass is busy narrowing itself from the Christian age in its entirety to the life span of a single generation. determined to be more modern than the romantic—then something emerges at this point that we have yet to encounter in the history of the term. is characterized by something more than modernity’s loosening itself from its equation with the romantic. appear classical in its own right. ﬁnally shriveling away to the fashionable alternation of the latest literary trends. which looks into the distant reaches of history to ﬁnd the truth of a nature that was and looks into the nearness of the natural surroundings to ﬁnd the absent totality. Schlegel. experiences its modernity as a conﬂict with the present age and no longer as an antithesis to the olden days.” discontent with one’s own incomplete present is the common denominator shared by conservative and progressive romantics alike. upon becoming the romanticism of yesterday. the consciousness of modernity reaches back to the Middle Ages as a self-designated point of origin and thus encompasses the longest chronological period in the history of the term. 9 In romanticism’s historical self-conception. In the nineteenth century. The world-historical opposition of the romantic to the classical is reduced to the relative opposition between whatever.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 359 this bearing. for a given set of contemporaries. In this relationship is rooted the self-image of a generation that. paradoxically. is current and those same things’ appearance to the following generation as overtaken and outmoded. W. an equation canonized by A. the great historical antithesis between the old and the new.
pp. modernity and romanticism go from being synonyms to being antitheses. by a diﬀerent relationship to the beautiful. jamais peuple n’a eprouve. 93. et je les plains d’etre nes dans un siecle ou les ˆ ´ ` ` ﬁls ressemblent si peu a leurs peres. ed. les idees. ˆ ´ . 79. they would ﬁnd the classics. leading again to that modernite ´ which only ever distinguishes itself from itself. 94. ` ˆ history since 1789 stands in complete contrast to its entire course heretofore. unbearable (see RS. 91). “Je respecte inﬁniment ces sortes de classiques. in his great essay “Racine et Shakespeare” (1823–1825). which sets the ball rolling. the Young German movement gave a new explicitness to the term modern—now whittled down to the present. He ﬁnds in the revolution an event separating the Francais de 1785 from his ¸ generation as though by an abyss. It would be unreasonable to expect an appreciation of classical literature from the “children of the revolution. hereafter abbreviated RS. Quel changement de 1785 a 1824! Depuis deux mille ans que ` ` ` nous savons l’histoire du monde. de changement plus rapide et plus total que celui de 1780 a 1823. Pierre Martino (Paris. Fritz Martini has shown how the historical period encompassed by the romantic notion of the modern progressively shrinks in Germany once there comes to pass a certain reversal. “Modern. the current. une revolution aussi brusque dans les habitudes. furthering the polemic over romanticismo begun in Italy in the circle around Ludovico di Breme and appealing to his generation’s special. by a retooling. by identifying it with the Zeitgeist. the revolution has cut the cords between past and present. however. 1925).” who instead of reading Quintus Curtius and Tacitus. its habits and its ideas. Racine et Shakespeare. p. witnesses to the astonishing upheavals of 1814. “De memoire d’historien. their comedy and their pathos alike. 402.360 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition there now coalesces a consciousness of modernity that ultimately only ever distinguishes itself from itself. but also ´ by its taste. Modern society is separated from the ancien regime not only by its new constitution. Stendhal. n’est peut-etre jamais arrivee” (RS. It was Stendhal who. les ´ ´ croyances. of the terminological pair romantic and classical in which we can see this reversal’s ﬁrst moment. the realistic—and. 45). they turned it programmatically against the ramshackle romantic world. went marching against Moscow. Martini. gave this process its decisive turn. This is preceded.” p. anticipated by Solger’s Erwin (1815). The knowledge that the course of history has become utterly diﬀerent since 1789 stands at the beginning of an epochal consciousness that perceives the step from old to new as a total rupture in time. In Heinrich Heine and the Young Germans. et l’on veut nous donner toujours la meme literature. p. indeed unprecedented. in France and Italy. historical experience. dans ses moeurs ´ ´ ´ et dans ses plaisirs. 45.”93 For Stendhal.94 For it is precisely 92. Die Moderne.92 In the 1830s.
1964). has been faced with the problem of “catching up with an accelerating history. over against the real and the everyday. once outmoded. the great historical antithesis between romanticism and classicism is over. 194. If one regards its eﬀects. ed. the consciousness of modernity only ever repels itself. sont susceptibles de leur donner le plus de plaisir possible. and it is beautiful only to the extent that it aims for and achieves this currency. no longer opposes to this (in his sense of romantic) modernity some antiquity. which broke with the previous history of the word. some authoritative past. so whatever is current today gets left behind. in its own moment. the remote and the bygone. Jauss (Munich. itself romantic: “Sophocle et Euripide furent eminemment romantiques” (RS. it gives the modern the meaning of the highest worth and explains everything classical—in purely functional terms. 39). p. pp.95 Stendhal. The romantic is rather the latest trend. some past that predated it and could serve it as model or ﬁrst stage. In the experience of recent history. ever and again. and the subsequent experience of modernity is set. via a simple shift of historical modalities—as the romanticism that once was. capable then of arousing a merely historical interest: “Le romaticisme est l’art de presenter aux peoples les oeuvres litteraires qui. leur presente la lit´ terature qui donnait le plus grand plaisir possible a leurs arriere-grands´ ` ` peres” (RS. the events of 1789 have made the subsequent period seem like a movement freshly begun and accelerating under its own weight and the previous period like a mired-down and motionless long-ago. as though in a ﬁeld of tension. The romantic is now no longer the allure of that which transcends the present. will have to forfeit its immediate allure. For a parallel in the realm of history writing. And with that we have come full circle. which. In his 1823 tract. ` With this deﬁnition. . the one for which it was produced.” see Reinhard Koselleck in Nachahmung und Illusion. Le classicisme. accordingly. romantique ends its run as a periodizing concept.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 361 those qualities that one’s grandfathers found most delightful in literature that now make the grandchildren yawn. 39). In contrast to the tradition of the term moderne up to this point. beauty is directly beautiful only for its initial public. whatever is beautiful now—which. dans l’etat actuel ´ ´ de leurs habitudes et de leurs croyances. Stendhal’s ´ notion of the romantic takes over the original function of the Latin modernus: to designate the historical now of the present. It is from this notion that Stendhal derived his famous deﬁnition of the romantic. For everything classical was once. au contraire.” that which culminates in the now of the present—is no longer opposed to some antiquitas. which stand. in this 95. p. 234. converting its traditional meaning into its opposite. the word romantique—in its new meaning of “current. since the revolution.
the eternal in the ephemeral. indeed eternal? This is the question asked by Baudelaire in his remarks on Constantin Guys. by the pastness of successful works. p. et meme penetre subtilement. returns to Stendhal’s modern deﬁnition of beauty: “que le Beau n’est que la promesse du bonheur” (P. His answer. which. its morality. ` ˆ . that of conventional aesthetics. who believe that.97 According to Baudelaire.” ´ is meant to stand in opposition to conventional aesthetics. in which the morality and aesthetics of his period disclose themselves and which allows him to become something like what he wants to be. 874). The nature of beauty can be grasped neither by one-sidedly surveying current trends—that is. This formulation occurs in Baudelaire: “En un mot. the Peintre de la vie moderne (1859). even modernite itself becomes antiquite. How can beauty satisfy this constantly shifting ideal of nouveaute.362 Hans-Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition perpetual stop-and-start. becoming the romanticism of yesterday and thus classical in its own right. who makes an eﬀort “de degager de la mode ´ ce qu’elle peut contenir de poetique dans l’historique. il faut que la beaute mysterieuse que la vie humaine y met involontairement en ´ ´ ´ ait ete extraite” (P. Fashion is the starting point for Baudelaire’smodern aesthetic because there is a twofold allure peculiar to it. the characteristic features of an epoch. its fashion. 876). how can it mirror in art ´ the unique qualities of the present age while at the same time standing in opposition to itself. If. Beauty in the terms demanded by Baudelaire’s consciousness of modernity is clearest in fashion as seen by Constantin Guys. p. 884). 873). 96 then one wonders about the nature of the ´ ´ beauty that this never-ending process is always producing. ´ ´ 97. impervious to historical change. arrondit ou aligne son geste. not as a timeless ideal known in advance. in the presence of “masterworks. L’homme ﬁnit par ressembler a ce qu’il voudrait etre” (P. les traits ˆ ´ ` ` de son visage. insofar as. it seems immortal. 875). p. chiﬀonne ou ´ raidit son habit. and its passions—nor by simply reviewing the antique store classicism of bygone masterworks. on which the aesthetic Philistinism of the bourgeois is based (see P. p. It embodies the poetic qualities of historical things. The opposite position. once deemed classic. and no longer by some bygone perfection. 885). 98. There emerges now a new notion of classicism. p. in the incessant conversion of the current to the classical. pour que toute modernite soit digne de ´ devenir antiquite. as a “theorie rationnelle et historique du beau. but rather as an idea of beauty made by man for himself. Beauty steps forth in fashion.” which is his abstract deﬁnition of 96. is made clear at the outset by the taste of sundry visitors to the Louvre.” they now have art in its entirety. “L’idee que l’homme se fait du beau s’imprime dans tout son ajustement. Stendhal was wrong to claim that beauty is utterly subject to the ever-changing ideal of happiness (see P. a la longue. p.98 Fashion demonstrates what Baudelaire calls the “twofold nature of beauty. which is deﬁned only in negative terms. de tirer l’eternel du ´ ´ transitoire” (P.
p. don’t l’autre moitie est l’eternel et l’immuable” (P.100 Although romanticism is in fact the past that lies directly behind Baudelaire’s modernity. p. la mode. like romanticism for Stendhal. clas´ sical antiquity—can serve as constitutive antithesis to the beauty of modern art. le son du cor ´ et le bruit du torrent. This opposite of modernite is not. 1849). which provides ´ Robert with his earliest citation. Baudelaire introduces la modernite into his ruminations on the connections between le beau. in which the vie moderne of both the historical everyday and of current political events discloses itself to our understanding. In Chateaubriand’s Memoires d’outre-tombe. romanticism. its meaning is derogatory: “La vulgarite. p. as one might ´ expect in this case. “Il [Constantin Guys] cherche ce quelque chose qu’on nous permettra d’appeler la modernite. la ´ ´ moitie de l’art. the poetic must ﬁrst be distilled. Il s’agit. 6 vols. 884). It is wholly in keeping with this new aesthetic experience that Baudelaire opposes to the unstoppable. for our epochal consciousness. the historical is only half of art. no particular past—not even. et ´ le bonheur expressly as a neologism. pace Benjamin. our remarks have arrived at the threshold of our own present modernity and thus at the foreseen endpoint. the lasting. But 99. the immutable. le contingent. 884). the aesthetic and the historical experiences of modernite coincide for Baudelaire. onward-rolling wheel of modernite a stationary ´ pole that comes into being as the past is repeatedly sloughed oﬀ. from which its other half. The ´ changed historical self-understanding that manifests itself in this modernity can once again be grasped by considering the opposite number that Baudelaire’s formulation entails.99 It is meant to name the twofold nature of beauty. the momentary. 884). every modernite inescapably becoming an an´ tiquite in its own right. ´ ´ ´ With this last milestone in the history of the word. c’est le transitoire. de degager de la mode ce qu’elle peut contenir de poetique dans l’historique. for his´ torical consciousness. ´ ´ ´ pour lui. as a boundary line between the departed historical world and the familiar one. is always separating itself from itself (“Il y a eu une modernite pour chaque ´ peintre ancien”) (P.Critical Inquiry / Winter 2005 363 modernite: “La modernite. For the producing artist. contrastaient avec l’orage.” . la ´ ´ modernite de la duane et du passeport. ´ 100. so the appearance of the new word la modernite after 1848 can ´ serve. (Brussels. car il ne se presente pas de meilleur mot pour exprimer l’idee en question. de tirer ´ ´ l’eternel du transitoire” (P. For now we can see with what justiﬁcation it was said at the outset that our preunderstanding of modernity reaches back historically to the aesthetic and historical self-understanding of Baudelaire and his contemporaries. pressed shoulder to shoulder with vulgarite. le fugitif. an aspect of the eternal as its opposite number. the word modernite still stands in direct opposition to the ´ romantic. the experience of modernite includes. it is for that very reason not regarded as the latter’s antithesis. Because in the process of historical experience modernity for Baudelaire. Similarly. the ephemeral. la porte gothique.
which classical taste had ignored or prettiﬁed. p. leads no further than the threshold of our present-day modernity and thus cannot untangle the aspects of the modern in contemporary literature. . an idea of beauty proposed and then repeatedly cast aside by men. it and all its consequences will emerge into the light of day. and goodness! This bold analogy puts the seal on the antithesis of modernite and ´ternel.’” Epimeleia: Die Sorge der Philosophie um den Menschen (Munich.101 Even that which appears timelessly beautiful to us at some point had to be produced. 884). like ideal beauty (le beau unique et absolu). fugitif. En le supprimant. p. ´ ´ the character of a sloughed-oﬀ past (P. but in Valery. etc. 285. then as now.” Oeuvres completes de Baudelaire. p. ` 102. truth. rather. 1965). it sets poetic qualities free in fashion and history. “Richard Wagner et ‘Tannhauser’ a ´ ` ´ ¨ ` Paris. ´ ´ the work of art stumbles inevitably into the empty space of a beauty as abstract and indeterminate as the beauty of the only woman before the Fall. dont les metamorphoses sont si frequentes. which cleared the way for the aesthetic experience and the new artistic canon that characterize the modernity of our own present day. Timeless beauty—this necessarily follows from Baudelaire’s theorie rationnelle et his´ torique du beau and his exposition thereof with reference to fashion—is nothing other than the idea of beauty in its status as the past. this break with the Platonism of classical aesthetics is visible only in its ﬁrst outlines. as a contribution to the history of concepts. c’est-a-dire de ¨ ´ ´ ´ ` l’eternel. In Baudelaire. which opens up the most recent—and for our pur´ e poses last—chapter in the terminological history of the modern.102 Eve after the Fall is the epitome of beauty in modernite’s understanding of ´ the world. see ´ Blumenberg. I would like to refer the reader to a ¨ colloquium dedicated to the transition from classical to modern art: Immanente Asthetik— ¨ Asthetische Reﬂexion: Lyrik als Paradigma der Moderne.103 101. but which also testiﬁes to the anti-Platonic impulses in Baudelaire’s aesthetic. vous tombez forcement dans le ´ ´ vide d’une beaute abstraite et indeﬁnissable. par l’etude du passe. 875). p.” (Baudelaire. dont les metamorphoses sont si frequentes. the emblem of a revolt against the metaphysics of timeless beauty. This is. Since the present essay.” If it is absent. “Cet element transitoire. a prejuger l’absolu contraire. The association between the eternal and the passe can also be found at the end of the essay ´ on “Richard Wagner et Tannhauser”: “Je me crois autorise.364 Hans Robert Jauss / Modernity and Literary Tradition this is by no means a belated variant of the Platonic-Christian antithesis of time and eternity. which romanticism had revived and worn out. The exemplary art of the peintre de la vie moderne discovers in the ﬂeeting and the contingent an element of undying beauty. true art. the eternal (l’eternel et l’immuable) has. Wolfgang Iser (Munich. 1964). as the antithesis of modernite. comme celle de l’unique femme avant le premier ´ ´ peche” (P. For Baudelaire. ´ ´ 103. “Sokrates und das ‘objet ambigu. 1066). fugitif. cannot do without an “element tran´´ sitoire. that antithesis’s opposite! For ´ternel here takes the place earlier oce cupied by antiquity or the classical. ed. vous n’avez ´ ´ ´ ´ pas le droit de le mepriser ou de vous en passer.