Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

Pretextures of Time

Sheldon Pollock
History and Theory
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Oct., 2007), pp. 366-383
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4502264
Page Count: 18
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Pretextures of Time
Preview not available

Abstract

Textures of Time is a rich and challenging book that raises a host of important and hard questions about historical narrative, form, and style; the sociology of texts; and the core problem of ascertaining historical truth. Two that pertain to the book's main claims are of special interest to nonspecialist readers: Is register or style - "texture" - necessarily and everywhere diagnostic of "history"? Does a new kind of "historical consciousness" emerge in south India beginning in the sixteenth century, indeed as a sign of an Indian early modernity? Textures is not the first book to argue that historical discourse is constitutively marked by a peculiar style, but the claim is beset by difficulties that scholars since Barthes have detailed. Rather than textures of time - accounts of what really happened in history-what these works offer us may be only pretextures of time, textualized forms of a human experience that make claims about its degrees and types of truth through representations of various states of temporality. Instead of assessing, then, whether these works are history or something else like "myth," we might ask whether they invite us to transcend this very dichotomy, to try, that is, to make sense of historical forms of consciousness rather than to identify forms of historical consciousness. As for modernity, nothing in south Indian historiography from 1500-1800 remotely compares to the conceptual revolution of Europe. But why should we expect the newness of the early modern world to have been experienced the same way everywhere? Modernity across Asia may have shown simultaneity without symmetry. Should this asymmetry turn out to reveal continuity and not rupture, however, no need to lament the fact. There is no shame in premodernity.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[366]
    [366]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
367
    367
  • Thumbnail: Page 
368
    368
  • Thumbnail: Page 
369
    369
  • Thumbnail: Page 
370
    370
  • Thumbnail: Page 
371
    371
  • Thumbnail: Page 
372
    372
  • Thumbnail: Page 
373
    373
  • Thumbnail: Page 
374
    374
  • Thumbnail: Page 
375
    375
  • Thumbnail: Page 
376
    376
  • Thumbnail: Page 
377
    377
  • Thumbnail: Page 
378
    378
  • Thumbnail: Page 
379
    379
  • Thumbnail: Page 
380
    380
  • Thumbnail: Page 
381
    381
  • Thumbnail: Page 
382
    382
  • Thumbnail: Page 
383
    383