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The Tyranny of Temporality: Edmund Spenser, Desire and the Already Written Text

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This paper seeks to example the temporal dissonances between acts of imagination or creation and their representation in writing. What one can imagine in its synchronic fullness resists recovery in the diachronic, word by word act of writing, leading to frustration as well as the continued attempt and continued failure to get it right in writing. The artist/scientist tries to navigate this precarious space constantly. This seems to be precisely what Edmund Spenser is getting at in Canto X of Book VI of The Faerie Queene which describes Colin Clout's Vision on Mount Acidale, its interruption and interpretation. I offer it as a model of the tyranny of temporality.

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