10.0727 change

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 22:19:10 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 727.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Hope Greenberg <hope.greenberg@uvm.edu> (32)
Subject: Re: 10.0710 change: Yes, but what kind?

Is the belief that we live in an ever-changing world really only as
recent as last century? Or is it our concept of change as a linear
transition the thing that is recent? Surely all those 14th century
illuminations of Fortune's Wheel indicated something about the beliefs
of the time. And Machaut, in much of his music before and after the
great plague, but particularly in his 'Remede de Fortune' is very aware
of the possibilities of newness and change or "de chant at de ditt=E9
nouvelle" at least in the arts. I'm sure we could find many other
pockets of belief in the possibilities of change. What prompted a
handful of farmers and lawyers to envision and actually create a
government of self-rule when all around them were kings, emporers, and

No, the concept of change is not new. It recurs frequently, under a
variety of circumstances and in a variety of ways. Perhaps what we can
thank the Victorian culture makers for is their linear vision of change
and the idea that positive societal change could be effected on a grand
scale. And, who knows? If the War Between the States hadn't complicated
matters, (was there a post-war backlash against that very idealism, in
some ways blaming it for the war?) they may just have gotten away with
it. As it is, what we are left with in this century is not something
completely new, but perhaps a different variation on the theme: a sense
that the pace of change is quickening. But it is possible to find now
evidence of belief in the cyclical nature of change, and I wouldn't be
surprised to see this concept of change become more widely accepted in
the next century.

- Hope

Hope Greenberg
University of Vermont