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The Fullness of Time: Temporalities of the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries

Matthew S. Champion

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ISBN 10: 022651479X / ISBN 13: 9780226514796
Published by The University of Chicago Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Title: The Fullness of Time: Temporalities of the ...

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


The Low Countries were at the heart of innovation in Europe in the fifteenth century. Throughout this period, the flourishing cultures of the Low Countries were also wrestling with time itself. The Fullness of Time explores that struggle, and the changing conceptions of temporality that it represented and embodied showing how they continue to influence historical narratives about the emergence of modernity today. The Fullness of Time asks how the passage of time in the Low Countries was ordered by the rhythms of human action, from the musical life of a cathedral to the measurement of time by clocks and calendars, the work habits of a guildsman to the devotional practices of the laity and religious orders. Through a series of transdisciplinary case studies, it explores the multiple ways that objects, texts and music might themselves be said to engage with, imply, and unsettle time, shaping and forming the lives of the inhabitants of the fifteenth-century Low Countries. Champion reframes the ways historians have traditionally told the history of time, allowing us for the first time to understand the rich and varied interplay of temporalities in the period.


"In this stunningly original and meticulously researched account of time in medieval culture, Matthew Champion extends an august scholarly tradition by virtue of the extraordinarily rich and diverse sources he brings to bear on excavating the experience and philosophy of time in the Low Countries. Drawing on a variety of witnesses from the painted altarpiece, to the urban procession, to the toll of city bells, to the inner voices of the prayerful, to the rumination of the theologian, Champion offers readings that are insightful and moreover virtuosic in the ease with which they move between disciplinary discourses. In particular, The Fullness of Time offers a profound meditation on the role of sound in shaping the tempos of medieval life, the likes of which has rarely been undertaken before in the fields of history or musicology. Generously documented and beautifully written, it will surely be read and admired for many years to come."--Emma Dillon, King's College London

"A keen interest in time and chronology characterizes the long Middle Ages, but it is by no means confined to calendars and computus. This brilliant and provocative book shows how concepts of time permeated everyday life in the fifteenth-century Low Countries. It welds together such seemingly disparate topics as altar painting, manuscript illuminations, ducal entries, bells, biblical history, music, and chronology into a coherent and illuminating whole. Each chapter gives rise to thought-provoking connections with other topics that might not have occurred to the reader before, such as the liturgical measurement of civic processions and the intertwining of art and music. Audible, visual, and emotional time intersect in a harmonious polyphony of time."--Bonnie J. Blackburn, Wolfson College, Oxford

"This is a wonderfully written book, presenting a highly nuanced and multi-layered analysis. Jacques Le Goff famously pointed to a move from 'Church time' to 'Merchant time' in the Middle Ages; Matthew Champion shows us many further layers of complexity beyond those binary poles. Time is here explored liturgically, civically, historiographically, musically, and visually, and we see throughout how the sacred and the secular entwine, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes pulling against each other. The fullness of time lies not only in its multiple contexts and rhythms, but in its affective reach, as something experienced emotionally, devotionally, and as a core part of how human subjects are made. A stunning work of cultural history, based upon a deep knowledge of the sources combined with considerable theoretical sophistication."--John H. Arnold, King's College, Cambridge

"Champion argues that, in contrast to standard perceptions of 'timelessness, ' the fifteenth-century Low Countries . . . practiced a complex and multi-layered approach to time that has been little recognized. His purpose is to unpack this 'fullness' of time, to explore how time is made manifest in both social life and cultural production. . . . An absolutely fascinating read . . . . If you're up for a challenge and open to the curiosity of exploration, this book will reward you tenfold. Highly recommended."
--Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians

"This text pushes against the concept of a smooth break between medieval time, punctuated by the liturgical reenactment of cosmic events collapsed from the past, present, and future, and newer, more modern temporalities shaped by rational science and mercantilism. . . . Well researched and very well written. . . . Champion does an excellent job of balancing the daunting bibliography of an interdisciplinary approach on a complex conceptual topic with the restraint necessary to produce a readable volume . . . . The end result is a book that is accessible to scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum and appropriate for both scholarly research and a wide variety of upper-division undergraduate topics."
--The Medieval Review

"Champion's focus is primarily on how the liturgical intersected with the secular in the fifteenth-century Low Countries, but his work bears far broader implications for the analysis of medieval Augustinianisms, and provides a fundamental analysis for study into the shift towards a secularized, mechanical sense of time."--Parergon

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