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For a Semantics of Dark Times Narrating, Understanding and Judging the Insurmountable Past


The Arendtian "notion" of narrativity is inseparable from the conception of history as a fracture and suspension of the unbroken temporal continuum, as marked always by "new beginnings" and irruptions of singularity. The context in which the theme of narrativity matures is that of the rethinking of temporality and the critique of the unilinear image of historical time at the center of the discourse of various twentieth-century philosophies that, critical of any teleological temptation of history. The questioning of the meaning of events revolves around possible ways of thinking about the connection between event and meaning once all possible faith in the rationality of history has disappeared. Such questioning moves from the conviction that the singularity and unrepeatability of events and the specificity of historical actors cannot be understood by yielding to universalizing temptations, and that the particular cannot be deduced from universal laws of history.