Presences We Live By

Rethinking the Eternal Return and Time Lapses between Now and Then from Vico to Arendt

  • Patricia Gwozdz University of Potsdam
Keywords: eternal return, ricorso, history, time, Wiederkunft, Hannah Arendt


This paper sketches a tour de force of philosophical as well as poetic concepts of time from G. Vico (ricorsi), F. Nietzsche (Wiederkunft), V. Woolf (Orlando), W. Benjamin (Ur/Sprung), E. Auerbach (figura) and Hannah Arendt (“in-between”). It maps the returns and lapses of time from cycles to spirals, theoretical models, and visualizations which are brought forth to solve the problem of how not to fall back into earlier already overcome stages of development, and to realize the network of strings between now and then in order to make a difference in the future. I will underline the statement that we have no access to the archives of history as long as we are not traveling back to the future. For history is not enclosed in the past, it is reassembled by future tasks: from Vico’s chronological monsters as illegitimate descendants to Zarathustra’s pregnancies as preparation for the return of the unbearable, from the queer feeling of time vibrations in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to Benjamin’s jumping sessions from origin to origin, from Auerbach’s vertical lift to Arendt’s “in-between.”