Revolutionary Time and Regeneration

Lynn Hunt


Beginning in 1789 and escalating in intensity into at least 1793, a new temporal schema took shape in which revolutionary time pulverized the foundations of the old order. Revolution came to mean rejecting the past, introducing a sense of rupture in secular time, maximizing and elongating the present in order to turn it into a moment of personal and collective transformation, and shaping the future in accordance with the discoveries made in the present. Time ceased being a given. It became a medium of endless potential for change that could be willed, that is, enacted by conscious choice.


Time; Revolution; Calendar; Ancien Régime; Modernity

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