Can literary history be done without the conventional reliance on linear periodization? What might a literary history of modernism look like without the usual periodization of roughly 1890–1940? This essay reviews the arguments for and against periodization and then argues that the new time studies—based in nonlinear concepts of time for the study of the contemporary—offers alternatives to the Eurocentric periodization of modernism. These new temporalities were anticipated by early twentieth-century Euro-American modernism, presented in the essay with an account of the dramatic debate between Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson in 1922 and a discussion of Virginia Woolf’s experiments with the relationality of space and time in her fiction. Multidimensional, layered, and disjunctive concepts of time are better suited for the study of planetary modernisms that incorporate the colonial and postcolonial modernities. Kabe Wilson’s multimedia installation based on a remix of A Room of One’s Own and selected criticism on modernism are used to illustrate alternatives to linear periodization.

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