Session Title

With Nicholas Watson, Middle Time: Past, Present, and Future

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Harvard English Dept. Medieval Colloquium

Organizer Name

Helen Cushman

Organizer Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Presider Name

Aparna Chaudhuri

Presider Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Paper Title 1

The Indeterminate Present: 698, 1066, 1381

Presenter 1 Name

Cynthia Turner Camp

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of Georgia

Paper Title 2

Imagining God's Foresight: The Shape of Visionary Encounter in Julian of Norwich's A Revelation of Love

Presenter 2 Name

Anna Kelner

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Paper Title 3

"Now": Stephen Batman's Tropological Middle Time

Presenter 3 Name

Ryan McDermott

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Pittsburgh

Paper Title 4

Sapientia: The Medieval Invention of the Secular

Presenter 4 Name

Nicholas Watson

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Harvard Univ.

Start Date

14-5-2016 10:00 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 210

Description

As Carolyn Dinshaw would remind us, time is a product of multiple styles of representation. Time can be recursive (the seasons), or it can map one temporality onto another (the liturgy). It can even be imagined as moving towards its own ending (the apocalypse), either by the slow ticking of days or the rush of a visionary leap, one that moves from the time of the present to the end times.
This panel suggests that the idea of “middle time,” a notion that encompasses both scholarly constructions of the medieval past as “in the middle,” and medieval conceptions of that aspect or quantity of time lying between past and future, might prove useful as a tool for scholarly communication with the medium aevum. If the Middle Ages are understood by modern historiogrpahers as “intermediate,” do they interrupt, suspend, or join the time periods that come before and after them? Could those late medieval writers who inhabit spaces of the secular and the eternal, the historical and the prophetic (for instance, Julian of Norwich, John Mandeville, Margery Kempe, or William Langland) be said to write in a “middle” mode? How might contemporary scholars work with models of temporality from the past —and of the past—to better understand, as Nicholas Watson has put it, the “rich exchanges between present and past that are an often-repressed feature of our work?”

Helen Cushman

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May 14th, 10:00 AM

With Nicholas Watson, Middle Time: Past, Present, and Future

Bernhard 210

As Carolyn Dinshaw would remind us, time is a product of multiple styles of representation. Time can be recursive (the seasons), or it can map one temporality onto another (the liturgy). It can even be imagined as moving towards its own ending (the apocalypse), either by the slow ticking of days or the rush of a visionary leap, one that moves from the time of the present to the end times.
This panel suggests that the idea of “middle time,” a notion that encompasses both scholarly constructions of the medieval past as “in the middle,” and medieval conceptions of that aspect or quantity of time lying between past and future, might prove useful as a tool for scholarly communication with the medium aevum. If the Middle Ages are understood by modern historiogrpahers as “intermediate,” do they interrupt, suspend, or join the time periods that come before and after them? Could those late medieval writers who inhabit spaces of the secular and the eternal, the historical and the prophetic (for instance, Julian of Norwich, John Mandeville, Margery Kempe, or William Langland) be said to write in a “middle” mode? How might contemporary scholars work with models of temporality from the past —and of the past—to better understand, as Nicholas Watson has put it, the “rich exchanges between present and past that are an often-repressed feature of our work?”

Helen Cushman