"The twentieth century began with a futuristic utopia and ended with nostalgia."
"No Egyptologist has ever seen Ramses. No expert on the Napoleonic Wars has ever heard the sound of the cannon at Austerlitz. … In short, in contrast to the knowledge of the present, that of the past is necessarily 'indirect.'"
"Historical work is never only about a past; it is also about finding a way through a present and imagining a future."
"... the passage of time is restored, but an infinite number of clocks all show a different hour."
"Now the East no longer exists. What has emerged in its place is neither the old nor the new. It is a no-longer and a not-yet."
"The modern ruin, is in fact always, inevitably, a ruin of the future."
"Like the word indicating the act of knowledge, so too the word historia derives from the root id-, which means to see. Histor is in origin the eyewitness, the one who has seen."
"To be sure, he never arrives until after the experiment has been concluded. But, under favorable circumstances, the experiment leaves behind certain residues which he can see with his own eyes."
"A peculiar paradox became apparent in those years: although the system’s collapse had been unimaginable before it began, it appeared unsurprising when it happened."
"Some time passed before it was realized that there was nowhere to return to, for history itself has in the meantime disappeared."