This paper examines the concept of anachronism in relation to idea of belatedness to assess its deployment as a temporal marker of progress in historical and literary contexts. Werner analyzes a few instances from Marx and Engels's early critical corpus in which they associate anachronism not only with political and industrial backwardness, but also with the discourse of "idiocy," which they associate with the rural, pre-capitalist milieu. Her essay then tracks how anachronism conceived as belatedness falls under equal condemnation amid established theories of literary realism by drawing from Auerbach's "Mimesis" as well as Lukács's key writings concerning realist aesthetics. Werner argues that anachronism becomes identified with belatedness when contemporaneity is defined by way of material conditions associated with capitalist modernity. Likewise, she demonstrates how the formulation of history that undergirds Marx and Engels's enterprise as well as the rise of nineteenth-century literary realism indexes the emergence of a new conceptualization of verisimilitude that departs from the Aristotelian sense of the term.


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pp. 36-53
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