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      Freedom and Formlessness: Ben Lerner’s 10:04 and the Affective Historical Present

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          Abstract

          This essay argues, via Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze, that in distinction to a neoliberal notion of time that overlooks the present moment and past experience, Ben Lerner’s 10:04 posits the existence, in both its form and content, of a kind of freedom not imminent to or beyond the endless presentism and debt-mortgaged non-future of neoliberal time but one that is immanent to and within it. The novel does so by stressing the way in which the actual, lived present, if properly attended to, gives rise to a virtual future containing multiple potentialities that have yet to be realized. What emerges is a deep sense of contemporaneity or affective time that heralds the potential of a nascent collective. 10:04 performs this notion in its very metafictional form(lessness) that calls attention to the fragility of both narrative and time that, particularly during moments of disruption, allow the subject to experience affectively an actual present carrying a virtual past into a future teeming with potentialities that a neoliberal temporality, in which the future is tamed by a drop down menu of preselected options, must deny. Thus, 10:04 reveals that we can experience a freedom to come within even the presentism of neoliberal temporality so that freedom after neoliberalism, as the novel’s Benjaminian influenced refrain suggests, will be “the same but a little different.”

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          Most cited references 12

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          Remembering the Historical Present

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            The Messianic Idea, Time of Capital and the Everyday

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              Why Kathy Acker Now?

               R Clare (2018)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                02 October 2018
                2018
                : 4
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Boise State University, US
                Article
                10.16995/olh.336
                Copyright: © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Freedom after neoliberalism

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