Time, History and Subjectivity in an “atopic” approach to Walter Benjamin’s theses On the concept of History

This article seeks to reflect upon the problems of time and subjectivity in the production of historical knowledge. Its approach is deeply inspired by the thinking of Giorgio Agamben and begins by citing the relationship between history and poetry in the 1451 (a, b) section of Aristotle’s Poetics. The passage aims at establishing a difference between history and poetry, which is discussed here with reference to three mythical dimensions of Greek temporality — Aiôn, Chrónos, Kairós — with the objective of characterizing sketches of a conception of time that is different from ours and to which the image of the “body of time” is here proposed. The dialogue that follows with the theses on Walter Benjamin’s On the concept of History brings closer the problem of the body of time to the question of action and historical subjectivity, questioning the possibility of conceiving an image of time most appropriate to the constituent action of the historical subject and its relationship with the possible.