Memories of Nature in Bakhtin and Benjamin

Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


This chapter pursues one thread of a complex skein of questions bearing upon the interrelationships between the concepts of nature, history and temporality in the thought of Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin. Given the space available it has a limited set of objectives. First, to draw attention to the remarkable parallels between the speculations of Benjamin and Bakhtin with respect to what might be called the crisis of nature as this was experienced through the lens of the dialectical tradition from Hegel and Marx to Simmel, Lukács and Western Marxism. Second, to briefly indicate how Benjamin and Bakhtin deconstructed the Natur/Geist dualisms of German social thought as one way of constructing a nonlinear, heterogeneous and ‘open’ image of nature and temporality. Finally, to suggest terms of reference for a more extensive exploration of the post-theological conception of nature in the work of these two thinkers.1


German Idealism Escape Clause Productive Dialogue Dialogical Perspective Screen Memory 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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