The twin innovations of precise, portable timepieces and the development of the theater as a state institution together ignited new types of embodiments, orderly and disorderly pleasures, and normative and wayward rhythms of life. Row leverages a painstakingly formalist and rhetorical analysis of tragedies by Jean Racine and Pierre Corneille to show how the staging of delay or haste can critically interrupt the normative temporalities of marriage, motherhood, mourning, or sovereignty—the quotidian rhythms and paradigms so necessary for the biopolitical management of life. Row's approach builds on the queer turn to temporality and Elizabeth Freeman's notion of the chronobiopolitical to wager that queerness can also be fostered by the sensations of disruptive speed and slowness. Ultimately Row suggests that the theater not only contributed to the glitter of Louis XIV's absolutist spectacle but also ignited new forms of knowing and feeling time, as well as new modes of loving, living, and being together.
Introduction: Queer Velocities
1. The Queer Disunity of Time, or the Affective Affordances of Le Cidy
2. Animate Ashes: The Time of Ruins and Remains in Andromaque
3. Polyeucte and the Speeds of Sects
4. Circling the Hymen: The Temporality of Dilation in Bérénice
Conclusion: Stepping Out of Time
“Queer Velocities makes significant contributions to multiple fields, first and foremost to early modern theater studies, but also and no less significantly to queer studies and to queer temporality studies. Jennifer Row displays brilliant theoretical creativity grounded in rigorous historical erudition.” —Lewis Seifert, author of Manning the Margins: Masculinity and Writing in Seventeenth-Century France
“It turns out that our understanding of the anti-normativity of queer time reflects twenty-first century assumptions about how time functions. With Queer Velocities, Row takes us back in time to early modern France when queer velocities operated as part of a temporal regime not yet solidified. In so doing, she contextualizes queer time through classical French tragedy as she brings out the temporal queerness of the early modern.” —Todd W. Reeser, author of Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance
This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)—a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of the University of Minnesota. Learn more at the TOME website, available at openmonographs.org.
To visit the TOME edition of Queer Velocities, visit https://doi.org/10.21985/n2-h6v9-gh57.