Jean Améry and the time of resentment

Ilit Ferber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The article provides a close reading of Jean Améry’s essay, ‘Resentments’ from the perspective of temporality. Although firmly grounded in a specific historical and political context (Améry, a Holocaust survivor, reflects on the aftermath of his experiences during the war), I argue that this essay offers valuable insights into Améry’s philosophy of temporality. After establishing the context and structure of Améry’s ‘Resentments’, the article delves into a discussion of the temporal aspects found in the text: (1) Delay: the emergence of resentments and their connection to trauma. (2) Eternal Recurrence: Améry’s critique of Nietzsche, along with surprising interconnections between their ideas. (3) Natural Time and Forgiveness: Améry’s critique of the temporal structure of forgiveness and the morally questionable prioritization of the future over the past. (4) Moral Time and the Irreversible: the distorted temporal structure of resentments, and Améry’s thought-provoking exploration of the phantasy of time’s reversibility. (5) The Future: Améry’s direct address to the young Germans and his unexpected suggestion on how they should treat their past and history, emphasizing responsibility rather than blame, as the key their past provides for the possibility of their future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Holocaust
  • Jean Améry
  • Nietzsche
  • justice
  • resentment
  • responsibility
  • temporality

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