Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226886015 Published December 2008
E-book $7.00 to $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226886039 Published February 2010

On Borrowed Time

The Art and Economy of Living with Deadlines

Harald Weinrich

Harald Weinrich

Translated by Steven Rendall
256 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2008
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226886015 Published December 2008
E-book $7.00 to $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226886039 Published February 2010
Life is short. This indisputable fact of existence has driven human ingenuity since antiquity, whether through efforts to lengthen our lives with medicine or shorten the amount of time we spend on work using technology. Alongside this struggle to manage the pressure of life’s ultimate deadline, human perception of the passage and effects of time has also changed. In On Borrowed Time, Harald Weinrich examines an extraordinary range of materials—from Hippocrates to Run Lola Run—to put forth a new conception of time and its limits that, unlike older models, is firmly grounded in human experience.
            Weinrich’s analysis of the roots of the word time connects it to the temples of the skull, demonstrating that humans first experienced time in the beating of their pulses. Tracing this corporeal perception of time across literary, religious, and philosophical works, Weinrich concludes that time functions as a kind of sixth sense—the crucial sense that enables the other five.
            Written with Weinrich’s customary narrative elegance, On Borrowed Time is an absorbing—and, fittingly, succinct—meditation on life’s inexorable brevity.
Marshall Brown, University of Washington

“Harald Weinrich is a phenomenon whose writing is nearly unique for its grace and accessibility. On Borrowed Time stands out among his many books for its totally unexpected topic. The more you think about it, the more you contemplate the extraordinary reach and unerring precision of the materials, the more fascinating it grows.”

Steven Poole | Guardian
"A deeply cultured book that graciously declines to outstay its welcome."
Thomas McGonigle | Los Angeles Times
“Endlessly intriguing, illuminating and smart. . . . Weinrich is one of a dying breed of intellectuals (George Steiner and Roberto Calasso among them) and those already dead (Erich Auerbach, Ernst Robert Curtius and Hannah Arendt) who stock the well-read, thoughtful imaginations of readers and move with practiced skill through classical literatures and the major literatures of the world. . . . Weinrich will do for the brain what Alka Seltzer does for the stomach.”
John Gilbey | Times Higher Education
"[An] excellent book. . . . Weinrich gives himself a very broad canvas—the impact that shortness of time has had on humanity across history—and he fills it well. He uses an unhurried, easy and assured narrative style to tease out the complex nature of how we perceive time in natural and contrived situations."
Contents

1. LIFE IS SHORT ART IS LONG

 

Medical Aphorisms and the Movement of Time • Hippocrates, Aristotle, Theophrastus
Philosophical Remarks on the Brevity of Life • Seneca
Domestic Economy and Time Management • Leon Battisti Alberti
Teaching Time Management • Chesterfield, Rilke

2 THE MIDPOINT OF LIFE

Midway on Life's Journey • Dante, Petrarch, Hölderlin
Rejuvenation in Rome – through Rome • Goethe
The Physician's Art of Prolonging Life • Hufeland
A Long Life with Faust • Goethe
New Art and Another Life • Vittorio Alfieri, Schiller
Magic and Style in Life-Time • Balzac
Every Day is a Sonnet • Oscar Wilde
Untimely Death or Venerable Old Age • Chatterton, Keats, Benn, Thomas Mann
Revocable and Irrevocable Time • Ingeborg Bachmann

3. LIMITED TIME IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE NEXT

Yet a Little While • Jesus, St. Paul
In Purgatory, Time Is Precious • Dante
More Time for a New World • Benjamin Franklin
A Purgatory in this World • Max Weber
Revolutionary Historical Times, in Rapid Fire • Heine, Marx

4. SHORT AND SHORTEST TIMES

Two Gods of Time: Chronos and Kairos • Mythology, Classics
Stars and Hours • Schiller, Wallenstein; Stefan Zweig
Between Austerlitz and Waterloo •  Émile Zola

 

5. THE ECONOMY OF LIMITED TIME

Three-Day Friendship: Hospitality • Homer, Knigge
Classicism as Economy of Time • From Plutarch to André Gide
Living Faster, Talking Less • Jean Paul, Madame de Staël

6. THE DRAMA OF TIME IN SHORT SUPPLY

Epic Is Long, Drama Is Short • Aristotle
How Long Is Twenty-Four Hours? • Corneille
Time out of Joint • Shakespeare, Hamlet
Saladin Learns to Take His Time • Lessing, Nathan the Wise
Time and the Oeuvre • Proust

7. FINITUDE, INFINITY

Curiosity–Thirst for Knowledge–Science • from Aristotle to Leibniz
A Nothingness of Time in Exchange for Eternity • Pascal, Emily Dickinson
Too Little Time, Too Much World • Blumenberg
Anthropological Experiences of Shortage • Odo Marquard

8. LIVING WITH DEADLINES

Clocks, Calendars, Appointment Calendars • Clockmakers, Calendarmakers
Deadlines in Everyday Life • Tutti, con moto
Deadlines in Law, with a Brief Glance at "Abortion Limits" • Civil Law, Criminal Law, Labor Law
"...but for the Present, not Yet" • Heidegger, Marquard

9. SHORT STORIES ABOUT SHORT DEADLINES

Saved from Death at the Last Minute • Thousand and One Nights; Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice
A Ballad about Friendship and Deadlines • Schiller, "Die Bürgschaft"
A Devil's Pact with Deadlines • Chamisso
The Traps and Labors of Deadlines • Flaubert, Maupassant
Deadlines of Honor, Prussian Style • Theodore Fontaine
Deadlines for Honor in Imperial Austria • Arthur Schnitzler
A Short Time to Be Humane • García Márquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Fifteen Minutes' Delay for Death • Blaise Cendrars
Everyman's Last Reprieve • Hugo von Hofmannsthal
A Short Epilogue in the Emergency Room • Tabucchi
A Race Around the World • Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days
Short Time, Comic Style • Camoletti, Boeing-Boeing
A Twenty-Minute Deadline: Lola Runs • Tom Twyker, Lola Rennt

10 EPILOGUE ON THE SENSE OF TIME

Notes
Index

 

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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