By Michael G. Levine

In his recognized theses at the philosophy of historical past, Benjamin writes: "We were endowed with a susceptible messianic strength to which the previous has a claim." This declare addresses us not only from the earlier yet from what is going to have belonged to it simply as a overlooked hazard and unrealized capability. For Benajmin, as for Celan and Derrida, what hasn't ever been actualized is still with us, no longer as a lingering echo yet as a secretly insistent allure. simply because such appeals don't go through common channels of verbal exchange, they require a distinct attunement, even perhaps a method of subconscious receptivity. Levine examines the ways that this attunement is cultivated in Benjamin's philosophical, autobiographical, and photohistorical writings; Celan's poetry and poetological addresses; and Derrida's writings on Celan.

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1: 478). ’ ” ( JU 41). This “interval” between a future and a past opens, in other words, as the gaping absence of a present, suggesting that this wound in time, this missing present, is also a gap in consciousness, an “unforgettable” moment. Yet, it is “unforgettable” not in any normal sense but rather in the way that memory fragments are, according to Freud, “most enduring when the incident that left them behind never entered consciousness” ( JU 190, fn. 70). As was suggested in Chapter 1, the interval opened in Benjamin’s text between a future—“you will find us”—and a past—“were dead”—gives us to understand the future perfect tense in a new way—namely, as the time frame of a relationship between past and future that is not mediated by the present.

This moment is ungraspable, the witness tries to say ‘And the inhabitants of that planet had no names. They had neither parents nor children . . They did not live, nor did they die, in accordance with the laws of this world. Their names were their numbers . . They left me, they kept leaving me, left . . for close to two years they left me and always left me behind . . indb 33 7/30/13 11:20:09 AM 34 The Day the Sun Stood Still As the reader will have noticed, the witness uses only negative terms to describe “that planet” and the state of limbo in which its “inhabitants” were suspended, shifting at a significant moment in his testimony from the past into the present tense.

Mod. 1: 478). ’ ” ( JU 41). This “interval” between a future and a past opens, in other words, as the gaping absence of a present, suggesting that this wound in time, this missing present, is also a gap in consciousness, an “unforgettable” moment. Yet, it is “unforgettable” not in any normal sense but rather in the way that memory fragments are, according to Freud, “most enduring when the incident that left them behind never entered consciousness” ( JU 190, fn. 70). As was suggested in Chapter 1, the interval opened in Benjamin’s text between a future—“you will find us”—and a past—“were dead”—gives us to understand the future perfect tense in a new way—namely, as the time frame of a relationship between past and future that is not mediated by the present.

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