The text of this section is taken from Henri Meschonnic’s Modernité Modernité (Lagrasse: Verdier, 1988). It constitutes the introduction to Meschonnic’s dealings with the debate on modernity and, by extension, on post-modernity. He thus attacks the strong post-modern movement of the time as a misconception of the modern, against which he accentuates the ongoing validity of a certain understanding of modernity, an understanding which operates beyond the categories of chronology and newness. The notion of modernity, as Meschonnic understands it after a rereading of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, overflows the binarism and couplings of the sign and shows its limitations. In Meschonnic’s definition, a critique of modernity implies an understanding of what a subject is.
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