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Time and Early Modern Thought
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5/9/2014 to 5/10/2014
When: 5/9/2014
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2014 Fri 9th May - Sat 10th May 2014 – Humanities Research Centre and York Minster Old Palace Library Run jointly by the universities of Lancaster and York, this conference will look at ‘time’ in the renaissance. We will consider this broadly, addressing such questions as:

  • Was there a ‘concept of time’, distinct to the period? What ideas of time were inherited from antiquity? 
  • How was time related to music and poetics, measure and proportion? how was it perceived, on the pulse, in the heart and on the brain? 
  • How was time related to timelessness, quotidian time to divine time? What did it mean, as Plato has it, to suppose time is a moving image of eternity? 
  • Was the relationship between time and mortality – emblematised in the Renaissance hour-glass and skull – terrifying or mere renaissance kitsch? 
  • What were the functions of early modern antiquarianism and the obsession with chronologies? 
  • How does renaissance theatre figure time, and what is the relationship between dramatic time and quotidian time? 
  • What was the relationship between time and space, eternity and infinity? 
  • Who were the Renaissance theorists of time? 
The conference will be held over two days, the first in the Treehouse, Humanities Research Centre, and the second in the beautiful surroundings of York Minster Old Palace Library, and will conclude with a concert given by the Minster Minstrels, a renaissance-baroque early music wind group. The seminar particularly encourages early career and post-graduates working in any Renaissance discipline: literature, history, music, art, philosophy. The conference is organised by Kevin Killeen (, Liz Oakley-Brown ( and Sam Ellis ( )

Time and Early Modern Thought University of York (UK) 

: Treehouse, Humanities Research Centre

10.00-11.30 Horology and Technology
Zoe Gibbons, Objectified Time in Shackerley Marmion’s The Antiquary (Princeton) Jane Desborough, The Clock and Watch Dial as a Reflection of Perceptions and Experiences of Time (Leeds) Natalie Kaoukji, Writing, progress and the history of inventions (Cambridge) Alexander Cummins, Time and Magic in Early Modern England (Bristol)

11.30-12.00 Coffee

12.00-1.30 Drama and Clocks
Denise Kelly, ‘Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time’: ‘Keeping’ Time in Early Modern English Theatre and Culture (Queens, Belfast) Robert Stagg, Shakespeare’s Clocks (Southampton) Helen Davies, ‘Tyrants expect no time’: constructing the temporally impaired body of Richard III in the ableist space of Tudor England (Lancaster)

1.30-2.30 (lunch)

2.30-3.30 Philosophy and Time
Joanne Paul, ‘An instance of grasped time’: Kairos in the Tudor Art of Politics (NCH) Oliver Dubouclez, Time and Contemplation in Francesco Piccolomini’s Naturae Totius Universi (Université de Liège) Grigol Gegelia, The Machiavellian Occasion (European University Institute)

3.30-4.00 4.00 – 5.00 Chronotopes and the Time to Come
L.D. Haydon, Milton and the Problem of Epic Time (University of Kent) Sharon Galbraith, Short Death, Long Sleep: Timing Mortality in Early Modern Perceptions of Piers Plowman (Lancaster University)

Reception: Treehouse 

: York Minster Old Palace Library.
9.30-11.00 Eternity and Oblivion Lucy Razzall. ‘Nothing is permanent in temporall things’: John Donne, Time, and the Material (Cambridge University) Sam Ellis, A Measure of Methuselahs: Counting out Time in Thomas Browne’s Hydriotaphia (York University) Harriet Phillips, Knowledge and Oblivion in Pseudodoxia Epidemica (Queen Mary, London)

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-1.00 Antiquarianism and Biblical Chronology Lydia Janssen, Time and the writing of history. Antiquarianism and the treatment of time in early modern historiography (KU Leuven) Michal Choptiany, Bartholomaeus Scultetus and chronology: An inquiry into the scholarly workshop of an Upper Lusatian astronomer (University of Warsaw) Emily A.E. Thomas, On the Emergence of ‘New’ Early Modern Metaphysics of Time (University of Groningen) – 

1.00 -2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 2.50 Time and Visual Art
Isabella Augart, Painted Polychronicities in Early Netherlandish Typology (Freie Universitat, Berlin) Mathew Champion, Contemplating Time and Eternity in Early Modern Louvain (Queen Mary, London)

3.00 – 3.45 Poetry Rachel White, Manipulating Metre: Revelations of Poetic Temporality in the Areopagus (Lancaster University) Florence Hazrat, ‘Time and the Tide wait for no Man’: Rivers, Refrains and Poetic Eloquence in Spenser’s Works (University of St Andrews)

4.00-5.00 Keynote: Michael Edwards (Cambridge)

5.00-5.30 Coffee

5.30 Concert by the Minster Minstrels

6.30 Finish Northern Renaissance Roses Seminar

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