Cassanova’s Modern

“It is also inevitably an occasion of rivalry and competition: because the modern by definition is always new, and therefore open to challenge, the only way in literary space to be truly modern is to contest the present as outmoded – to appeal to a still more present present…”

Casanova, Pascale. “The World Republic of Letters”. transl. M. B. Devoise. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999. pp. 92.

Cassanova opens his piece by getting straight to his point that modernity is challenging the present. There are many different modernities that can occupy the present, and they all have their own unique way of not conforming to the present style. What i find extremely interesting about this statement is that Cassanova implies that to be modern, one has to not be modern, in a sense: modern is an ongoing process that is always moving, which seems as though to say that there is not one true vision of what is presently modern. Instead, to be modern, one has to figure out new ways to stay ahead of what was once considered to be modern .