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Journal Article

BEYOND THE HORIZON: CHRONOSCHISMS AND HISTORICAL DISTANCE

HANS KELLNER
History and Theory
Vol. 50, No. 4, THEME ISSUE 50: Historical Distance: Reflections on a Metaphor (December 2011), pp. 38-50
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41342620
Page Count: 13
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BEYOND THE HORIZON: CHRONOSCHISMS AND HISTORICAL DISTANCE
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Abstract

Historical distance presents more complex issues than simply evaluating the meaning of the temporal span between a point in the past and some moment present to an observer. The ordinary historical difference, which is horizontal in the sense that it evokes the notion of hermeneutic horizons, fragments uncontrollably when examined closely, resulting in what might be called a "chronoschism." The experience of encountering a historical painting by Botticelli provides an example of this fragmentation. This complication of historical distance reminds us also of quite different sorts of distance, including the depths of endless regression, and the elevation of the historical sublime. These various forms of historical distance present a challenge to the horizontal character of normal historical practice.

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