Ethics of the event: The apocalyptic turn in modernism

Ruben Borg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In their contributions to the forum on "The Ethics of Temporality" (Partial Answers 8.1, 2009) Elana Gomel and Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan suggest that there can be no genuine ethical position without the rejection of deterministic models of thought. Such a rejection, they claim, is predicated upon a correct understanding of time as a real force for difference and heterogeneity - a force that remains irreducible to any totalizing discourse or meta-historical perspective. Taking its cue from that discussion, "Ethics of the Event" explores the paradoxes (ethical as well as epistemological) engendered by the modernist insight that time is real. In particular, the essay analyzes the strain that such an insight places upon the modern ideal of subjective self-determination. It then draws upon the work of Samuel Beckett to flesh out a literary model that is able to find some species of ethical freedom outside the framework of a fully self-determined subjectivity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)188-201
Number of pages14
JournalPartial Answers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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