While the concept of presentism seems to have been in gestation for some time, and with various shades of meaning, it has recently been highlighted by François Hartog in a critical interpretation of our age. For Hartog, presentism is a way of experiencing time or, in his words, a regime of historicity or temporality, which puts increasing emphasis upon the present; the present is extended backwards and forwards in time, and living it becomes in a sense a more intensive experience.1 He uses it, not solely but predominantly, in contradistinction to the modernist programme with its pervasive futurism and general belief in progress. Numerous forces appear to be driving this shift in appreciation, including consumerism. The most pervasive, however, seems to be a loss of confidence in the future: ‘The crisis of the future unsettled our idea of progress and produced...

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