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Evolutionary Time and Revolutionary Time (Michelet, Flaubert, Zola)

Abstract : The contribution analyses the works of three outstanding authors, Michelet, Flaubert, and Zola, in order to point out the interaction of two rivalling conceptions of time in nineteenth-century literature: evolutionist temporality, presupposing a continual, progressive representation of time, and revolutionary temporality, which, on the contrary, presupposes an asyndetic, halting conception of it. Although the first temporality rests on concepts from the biological realm, and the second one on the historical and political, there are fields of blending in nineteenth-century thought: socio-biology proposes an evolutionist vision of social development, and the catastrophist theory of Cuvier proclaims a history of the earth modelled on revolutionary jolt. The complicated relations between evolution and revolution that are to be found in nineteenth-century authors are tributary to this delicate linking between nature and culture, which is individually recreated in each literary universe.
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Contributor : Juliette Azoulai <>
Submitted on : Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 7:36:37 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 21, 2020 - 5:30:03 PM




Juliette Azoulai. Evolutionary Time and Revolutionary Time (Michelet, Flaubert, Zola). Niklas Bender and Gisèle Séginger. Biological Time, Historical Time, Brill | Rodopi, 2018, 978-90-04-38516-0. ⟨10.1163/9789004385160_022⟩. ⟨halshs-01961500⟩



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