Early Modern Histories of Time examines how a range of chronological modes intrinsic to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries shaped the thought-worlds of those living during this time and explores how these temporally indigenous models can productively influence our own working concepts of historical period. This innovative approach thus moves beyond debates about where we should divide linear time (and what to call the ensuing segments) to reconsider the very concept of "period." Bringing together an eminent cast of literary scholars and historians, the volume develops productive historical models by drawing on the very texts and cultural contexts that are their objects of study. What happens to the idea of "period" when English literature is properly placed within the dynamic currents of pan-European literary phenomena? How might we think of historical period through the palimpsested nature of buildings, through the religious concept of the secular, through the demographic model of the life cycle, even through the repetitive labor of laundering? From theology to material culture to the temporal constructions of Shakespeare, and from the politics of space to the poetics of typology, the essays in this volume take up diverse, complex models of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century temporality and contemplate their current relevance for our own ideas of history. The volume thus embraces the ambiguity inherent in the word "contemporary," moving between our subjects' sense of self-emplacement and the historiographical need to address the questions and concerns that affect us today.
Contributors: Douglas Bruster, Euan Cameron, Heather Dubrow, Kate Giles, Tim Harris, Natasha Korda, Julia Reinhard Lupton, Kristen Poole, Ethan H. Shagan, James Simpson, Nigel Smith, Mihoko Suzuki, Gordon Teskey, Julianne Werlin, Owen Williams, Steven N. Zwicker.