H.D.'s Tribute to Freud, a 1956 account of her analysis in the 1930s, posits two kinds of time. One is an intractable temporality that she calls “clock-time,” the unceasing movement of history toward a traumatic future—above all, the threat of Sigmund Freud's impending death and the encroachment of the Nazis on Vienna. Against this murderous imposition, the memoir embraces a temporality defined by brevity and contingency—we might call it momentary time or ephemeral time. As such, this queer text speaks to queer theory's oppositions between normative and nonnormative time and their attendant modes of reading—for example, in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's essay “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading,” which compares rigid, knowing-in-advance interpretation with an affectively rich, temporally fluid hermeneutics. Reparative reading offers one way to understand Tribute to Freud, but H.D. can also hone our understanding of “Paranoid Reading” because both texts demonstrate the collapse of distinctions between ephemeral time and historical time.
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Valerie Rohy; Exchanging Hours: A Dialogue on Time. GLQ 1 April 2017; 23 (2): 247–268. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3750449
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