Gower and Temporalities
When Gower says in the Vox Clamantis that the writings of the past provide examples for the future ("Scripture veteris capiunt exempla futuri") or when he envisions a statue of time made of the clay feet of the present and the golden head of the past, or when he mixes multiple temporalities together, such visions indicate not only that history has the capacity to repeat itself, but that the past and the future are implicated in the present moment. Such constructions of temporality challenge linear models based upon uninterrupted chronologies, diachronic progression, and narratives of continuity based upon heterosexual marriage, biological reproduction, and patrilineage. Gower'atypical models of time offer us alternative ways to think about kinship systems detached from reproductive imperatives and events that appear to arise spontaneously. By considering time in non-linear ways, we can begin to understand how the premodern past and Gower's work reach into and affect the twenty-first century.
For presentation at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo in May, 2018. Abstracts by 15 September 2017 to Eve Salisbury.