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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2011

Sue Zemka
Affiliation:
University of Colorado Boulder
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Summary

This book is about the human fascination with sudden events. With unexpected changes and turning points; with insights that arrive in a flash; with things that come in a moment: shocks, surprises, love, gods, ghosts, accidents, explosions, and revelations.

The moment is a primary temporal unit and a central artistic conceit of industrial culture. In the chapters that follow, I pursue a line of thinking that questions the importance that modernity attaches to momentary events. But I do so with lingering enchantment and respect. Moments that emerge from an undifferentiated flow of time, moments that break routines and habits: almost universally, such events are hallowed for their power. They bring insight, a concentration of meaning, ecstasy. They are linked to the event, which in contemporary thought bears the responsibility for change. That sudden, remarkable changes are qualified temporally, as moments or instants, alerts us to something so obvious as to be ignored. The moment is a punctualist form; it is over in a flash, though its effects may linger. What we are approaching is a family of experiences predicated on the condition of brevity.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • Introduction
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.001
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To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.001
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.001
Available formats
×