Zoe Gibbons

AB Mount Holyoke College, 2009

I study early modern English literature and intellectual history. My dissertation, Writing Time, Unwriting History: Narratives of Temporality in Early Modern England, 1610-1670,  reconsiders the relationship between the categories of “time” and “history” in seventeenth-century English poetry and prose. Focusing on works by John Donne, Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Browne, and Andrew Marvell, I argue that this period produced not only an increased interest in theorizing and narrating the experience of time, but also a hostility toward the priorities of Renaissance civic history. The “narratives of temporality” that I consider in Writing Time are explicitly anti-historical, proposing new methods of coming to terms with the recent past. These meditations on passing and past time allow their authors to escape the confines of historiography and speculate, often satirically, on what could—or might as well—have happened instead.

My other research and teaching interests include satire, early modern political theory, revenge tragedy, Restoration drama, and speculative fiction. My article “Abused and Abusive Words: Hobbes on Laughter and Leisure” appears in the Fall 2016 issue of ELH.