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Managing Time

Literature and Devotion in Early Modern France


Edited By Richard Maber and Joanna Barker

This volume offers a multidimensional exploration of the theme of time in early modern France: of time past, time present and time future, in literature and in life.

In poetry, the importance of past and future perspectives was studied by Maynard and La Fontaine. The dynamics of tragic drama were haunted by the past, driven by the urgency of the present and pervasively aware of the alternative futures that could be created, while in imaginative fiction there was a perennial fascination with possible future societies, Utopian or otherwise.

The awareness of transience and mortality gave urgency to the right ordering of life. The Church offered guidance to the pious for their days to be passed in disciplined devotion, while the moralists urged their worldly readers to redeem their misspent time and look to things eternal. At the end, the right ordering of death was both a social and a religious preoccupation.

The essays gathered here aim to stimulate an imaginative engagement with this important theme and open up avenues for future research.


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Notes on Contributors


joanna m. barker is Honorary Research Fellow of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University, England. Her interests include writing by early modern women and issues related to translation. mette birkedal bruun is Professor of Church History at the University of Copenhagen and Director of the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies. She has worked on medieval and early modern monasticism, edited the Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order (2013) and authored, among other titles, Parables: Bernard of Clairvaux’s Mapping of Spiritual Topography (2007) and The Unfamiliar Familiar: Armand-Jean de Rancé between Withdrawal and Engagement (2017). From 2013 to 2017 she was Director of the research project SOLITUDES: Withdrawal and Engagement in the long Seventeenth Century, funded by the European Research Council. joseph harris is Reader in Early Modern Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. An expert on early modern French literature, especially drama, he is author of Hidden Agendas: Cross-Dressing in Seventeenth-Century France (Tübingen: Narr, 2005) and Inventing the Spectator: Subjectivity and the Theatrical Experience in Early Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014). He has published numerous articles on laughter, spectatorship, gender, identification and death in the period; he is currently writing a monograph on death and violence in the works of Pierre Corneille and is starting a side-project on misanthropy in early modern Europe. adam horsley has published on seventeenth-century libertin writ- ers and their texts, with a particular focus on their treatment by the law courts. He is...

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