Dinshaw 2012

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Dinshaw, Carolyn. How Soon Is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

"I suspect that amateurs have something to teach the experts: namely, that the present moment is more temporally heterogeneous than academically disciplined, historically minded scholards tend to let on, and that some kind of desire for the past motivates all our work, regardless of how sharp-edged our researches eventually become: love and knowledge are as inextricable as the links in chain mail." (xiv)


"My broadest goal in this book is not only to explore but also to claim the possibility of a fuller, denser, more crowded now that all sorts of theorists tell us is extant but that often eludes our temporal grasp. This means fostering temporalities other than the narrowly sequential. This means taking seriously lives lived in other kinds of time." (4)
"Queerness, I maintain in this book, has a temporal dimension -- as anyone knows whose desire has been branded as 'arrested ddevelopment' or dismissed as 'just a phase' -- and, concomitantly and crucially, as I hope to show, tempmoral experiences can render you queer. ... In my theorizing of temporality I explore forms of desirous, embodied being that are out of sync with the ordinarily linear measurements of everyday life, that engage heterogeneous temporalities or that precipitate out of time altogether -- forms of being that I shall argue are queer by virtue of their particular engagements with time. These forms of being show, in fact, that time itself is wondrous, marvelous, full of queer potential. The interrelations between desire, bodies, and the now create a broad frameworkfor my concerns in this book." (4)
"Queer, amateur: these are mutually reinforcing terms." (5)
"The effects of these representations of medieval temporal worlds on their postmedieval readers form a further, major concern of this book: I argue that exposure to, or contact with, such temporalities can expand our own temporal repertoires to include extensive nonmodern -- okay, call them queer -- temporal possibilities." (6)
"Ongoing critiques of such historical time -- most trenchant for my purposes here are critiques by medievalists of the premodern/modern divide --intend to enable and put into practice the more radical claims of temporal heterogeneity. These medievalist arguments do not simply push back the modern period boundary; such critiques intend to facilities -- among other far-reaching potential projects -- the consideration of diverse temporal regimes operating here and now." (19)

requires "creative rethinking of nostalgia" -- "precisely because it can be a much-needed survival strategy for those for whom a relationship to 'home' is disrupted: those displaced from their homeands either literally or figuratively, including queers of all stripes." (35) -- "Because of their reflective dimensions, these nostalgias so understood can lead us through the narrowly defined 'personal' to a broader understanding of the shared, collective possibilities of life now." (37)

"even the material text and the reader are not fully distinct entities; they are solid and unitary, founded in a self-identical present, but are rather part of a heterogeneous now in which the divide beween living and dead, material and immaterial, reality and fiction, text and spirit, present and past is unsettled, where traces of signs, on the one hand, and tracks of the living, on the other, function differentially in displacing final meaning or a transcendent guarantee of meaning." (37)