Bad Timing in the Early Modern
- Jennifer Row (Cornell University), Katie Kadue (University of California, Berkeley)
Although “bad timing” in the colloquial sense is used to indicate a stroke of bad luck, misfortune, or irony, this panel on bad timing in the early modern period will investigate the wrinkles in time that fundamentally structure Renaissance thought, prose, poetry, theatre, and culture. Between comedic interruptions and fortunate falls, when might we consider bad timing to be positive? How does the body act as a site of bad timing – from farts, burps and regurgitations (both literal and figurative), to sexual mishaps, adulterous liaisons, and premature ejaculations? What sort of “bad” timings are present in the colonial encounter and how are these temporal deviances archived (as stalled, slowed, dragging)? Within the context of industrial advances of the period, how does “bad timing” appear concretely in the form of “waste,” and what is the relationship between haste and waste? Given the transition from collective (coterie) writing to the “birth of the author” in this period, what sorts of bad timings are present in copying, originality, and circulation of political criticism? How does the experience of nachträglichkeit and the timing of fateful encounters shape trauma, and the recording of trauma? From bad auguries to proleptic dreams, how does the paratemporal dimension (the spiritual, the occult, sleep) factor into notions of bad timing? Taking a page from the plethora of writings on queer chronologies that have emerged recently, what sort of swerves and detours in early modern texts turn timing away from its normative, teleologic orientation? What “bad timings” disrupt the meter of verse (the iamb or alexandrine), and to what effect? Does rhetoric have a time, a chronologic associated with its deployment, and through what figures (metalepsis, catachresis) is this orderliness undone?
Submissions in English, Comparative Literature, and French strongly encouraged