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The Hours Have Lost Their Clock

The Politics of Nostalgia

Grafton Tanner


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The Hours Have Lost Their Clock charts the rise of nostalgia in an era knocked out of time.

Nostalgia has broken out across the world. Political leaders promise a return to yesteryear. Remakes and reboots dominate the box office. Some use the emotion to resist oppressive regimes. Others induce it to manipulate populations. With little faith in a future of global warming and economic anxiety, many turn to this centuries-old emotion to weather the present.

In The Hours Have Lost Their Clock, Grafton Tanner argues that nostalgia is the defining emotion of our time. Moving from the fight over racist monuments to the collective mourning of species extinction, he traces nostalgia's ascent in the twenty-first century, revealing its power as both a consequence of our unstable time and a defense against it. The longer we live with endless wars, technological determinism, and economic austerity, he writes, the more nostalgic we will be.

From biased algorithms to the birth of homeland security, and from the rise of far-right extremism to the gentrification of memory itself, The Hours Have Lost Their Clock argues for a resistance against nostalgia. Our very future depends on it.

Repeater, 9781913462444

Publication Date: October 12, 2021

About the Author

Grafton Tanner is the author of Babbling Corpse and The Circle of the Snake. His work has appeared in The Nation and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He lectures at the University of Georgia.