Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-xii

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xviii

Lost time is the temporal gap between sensation and movement, perception and thought, decision and action. It is not a time that is forgotten. It is not the time of missing memories. Nor is it a time squandered or wasted. Lost time is never the time of futility, idleness, or sleeplessness. It is the time...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-25

At the beginning, two images. Both were created in the middle of the nineteenth century, both of them are signed “Helmholtz,” and both are movement-images as well as time-images. Our first look at them is deeply anachronistic. They appear to be horizontal filmstrips or elongated negatives...

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1. Curves Regained

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pp. 26-40

On September 1, 1851, a note from Hermann Helmholtz was read in the Académie des sciences in Paris. Helmholtz had been professor of physiology and anatomy at Königsberg University since 1849, and in this note, he reported on his continued studies on the propagation speed of nerve...

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2. Semiotic Things

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pp. 41-54

Bruno Latour has dedicated one of his most insightful texts to the gesture of scientific showing. In “Circulating Reference,” he takes the example of pedology to investigate how a discipline produces and secures the connection between scientific representations and the realities that correspond to...

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3. A Research Machine

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pp. 55-84

Let us, therefore, go back to the beginning. This beginning does not correspond to a point but to a “tangle,” a “multilinear ensemble” in which all lines—not just the lines of art but the lines of technology also—are “subject to changes in direction, bifurcating and forked.”2
The winter of 1849–50 was Helmholtz’s first winter in Königsberg...

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4. Networks of Time, Networks of Knowledge

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pp. 85-114

We can also observe an interlocking of the internal with the external in the way the Königsberg research machine worked, especially in the way it coordinated its effects in time. Although it functioned in physiological backwaters and in the calm of a university building in East Prussia, this machine...

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5. Time to Publish

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pp. 115-129

In practice, the research conducted by Helmholtz, Proust, and others who experimented with time in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries referred to a collective labor on materializing simultaneity, an enterprise to which constructors of telegraphs and clockmakers, factory owners and...

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6. Messages from the Big Toe

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pp. 130-146

While, in the spring of 1850, du Bois- Reymond was in Paris, promoting Helmholtz’s time experiments, the research machine in Königsberg was fully engaged in drifting. A short time after the “Preliminary Report” had been drafted and sent off, the assemblage of frog frame, galvano-chronometer...

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7. The Return of the Line

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pp. 147-171

What followed for Helmholtz was a further drifting of the experimental process and a return to the method of the curves. The drift this time led from psychophysiology to physics. In the human time measurements, it had been necessary to work with “strong apparatuses,” that is, with powerful...

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Conclusion

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pp. 172-178

Proust and Helmholtz never met. When the “Reich Chancellor of Sciences” died in Berlin in 1894, the budding author was all of twenty-three years old. Proust never went to Berlin, and Helmholtz didn’t want to go to Paris. He preferred traveling to En gland or the United States. Proust probably...

Chronology

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pp. 179-182

Notes

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pp. 183-214

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Bibliography

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pp. 215-220

This bibliography provides an overview of Helmholtz’s publications (including translations) and of the secondary literature on his time experiments and on the graphical method. It thus does not list all the titles already cited in the text and documented in the notes. Each section of the bibliography is arranged...

Index

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pp. 221-230