Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare

By Jonathan Gil Harris | Go to book overview

NOTES

All references to Shakespeare’s plays are to The Norton Shakespeare.


INTRODUCTION. PALIMPSESTED TIME

Note to epigraph: Serres with Latour, Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time, 60.

1. For studies of the early modern wonder cabinet, see Mullaney, “Strange Things, Gross Terms, Curious Customs”; Impey and Macgregor, The Origins of Museums; Agamben, “The Cabinet of Wonder,” The Man Without Content; and Swann, Curiosities and Texts.

2. As Douglas Bruster notes in an important essay about the new work on Renaissance material culture (“The New Materialism in Early Modern Studies,” in Shakespeare and the Question of Culture), the anthology or edited collection has become the favored genre for scholarship in the field. See de Grazia, Quilligan, and Stallybrass (eds.), Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture, which includes essays on a variety of early modern objects, including feathers, textiles, and Communion wafers; Fumerton and Hunt (eds.), Renaissance Culture and the Everyday, whose back-cover blurb boasts an even more extensive catalogue of items such as “mirrors, books, horses, everyday speech, money, laundry baskets, graffiti, embroidery, and food preparation”; Orlin (ed.), Material London, ca. 1600, whose essays examine various aspects of material culture in London, including the fashion for brightly colored clothes, Irish mantles, and yellow starch; and Harris and Korda (eds.), Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama, which examines stage properties ranging from false beards to domestic furnishings.

3. The fascination with “things” is not a phenomenon confined to scholarship on Renaissance material culture. It is apparent in most other periods of literary and cultural studies, as is evidenced by the titles of recent edited collections about material culture from pre- to postmodernity, such as Daston (ed.), Things That Talk, and Brown (ed.), Things. A notable exception to the elision of time in the study of objects is Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology.

4. The term was coined by Patricia Fumerton in her introduction to Fumerton and

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