The sense of an ending: time and temporality in the Vita Ædwardi regis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


My paper explores different patterns and visualisations of time within a late eleventh-century text, the 'Vita Ædwardi regis'. I draw on Frank Kermode’s exploration of the temporal regimes of apocalyptic literature to think about four patterns or shapes of history: linear history (what Kermode terms the chronos or sequence of events) and its relationship with cyclical history; fractal history (what Kermode terms the kairos, or moments of crisis, in which multiple possibilities become open); and finally the shapeless and timeless aevum.

Rather than a piece of 'failed history' - the text is often disparaged by historians as it fails to mention a key event that took place during its composition, namely the Norman Conquest of 1066 - it is a very successful attempt to integrate different temporalities into a single tapestry, through its use of visual metaphors such as streams and trees.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedieval temporalities
Subtitle of host publicationThe experience of time in Medieval Europe
EditorsAnnie Sutherland, Almut Suerbaum
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherBoydell & Brewer
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781800101609, 9781800101616
ISBN (Print)9781843845775
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2021


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