Against the Tyranny of Progress. Exercises in Resistance in DeLillo and Sebald

Arturo Mazzarella


The essay aims at offering a critical revision of the category of “progress”, which had a central role in the theoretical and political lexicon of modernity and which to this day continues to maintain its full value. As evidenced by Nietzsche throughout his oeuvre, what is often forgotten is the nihilist root of the category of progress, projected for the sake of an endless, individual and collective advancement onto a temporal framework that nullifies the dimension of the present. In view of this, a Foucauldian resistance to the temptations of progress translates into an attempt to create an imaginary that sees the present time, with its unpredictable metamorphoses, as the single historical moment when actual change is possible. This is exemplified by the two novels on which the essay is focused: Sebald’s Austerlitz and DeLillo’s Point Omega.


Progress; Nihilism; Resistance; Present; Revolution;

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)


Benjamin, Walter, Über den Begriff der Geschichte (1942), trad. it. Sul concetto di storia, Eds. Gianfranco Bonola-Michele Ranchetti, Torino, Einaudi, 1997.

Butler, Judith, The Psychic Life of Power (1997), trad. it. La vita psichica del potere. Teorie del soggetto, Ed. Federico Zappino, Milano, Mimesis, 2013.

Ead., Undoing Gender ( 2004), trad. it. Fare e disfare il genere, Ed. Federico Zappino, Milano, Mimesis, 2014.

Deleuze, Gilles, L’image-temps. Cinema 2 (1985), trad. it. L’immagine-tempo. Cinema 2, Milano, ubulibri, 1989.

DeLillo, Don, Point Omega (2010), Punto Omega, Torino, Einaudi, 2010.

Foucault, Michel, La volonté de savoir (1976), trad. it. La volontà di sapere, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1978.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, Also sprach Zarathustra (1883-85), trad. it. Così parlò Zarathustra, in F. Nietzsche, Opere, Eds. Giorgio Colli-Mazzino Montinari, Milano, Adelphi, 1968, VI, 1.

Schmitt, Carl, Die Tyrannei der Werte. Überlegungen eines Juristen zur Wert-Philosophie (1960-67), La tirannia dei valori. Riflessioni di un giurista sulla filosofia dei valori, Ed. Giovanni Gurisatti, Milano, Adelphi, 2008.

Sebald, Winfried G., Austerlitz (2001), Austerlitz, Milano, Adelphi, 2002.



Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

ISSN 2421-5821 

Between is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal was founded in 2011 with the financial contribution of Fondazione Banco di Sardegna (years 2010-2011).

ISSN 2039-6597 

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe