Is modernity synonymous with progress? Did the Renaissance really break with the cyclical, agrarian time of the Middle Ages, inaugurating a new concept of irreversible time in a secular culture defined by development? How does methodology affect scholarly responses to the idea of the future in the past? This collection of interdisciplinary essays from the fields of literary criticism, cultural studies, politics and intellectual history offers new answers to these commonplace questions. They explore elite and popular culture, women and men’s experiences, and the encounter between East and West, providing a comparative view on the range of personal, political and social practices with which early modern people planned for, imagined, manipulated or even rejected the future. Examining poetry, architecture, colonial exploration, technology, drama, satire, wills, childbirth and deathbed rituals, humanism, religious radicalism and republicanism, this collection provides new readings of canonical early modern texts and insights into popular culture.

With a foreword by Peter Burke.

List of Figures Foreword: The History of the Future, 1350-2000, Peter Burke Introduction, Andrea Brady and Emily Butterworth 1. In Pursuit of the Millennia: Robert Crowley’s Changing Concept of Apocalypticism, A. Wade Razzi 2. Montaigne’s Forays into the Undiscovered Country, Richard Scholar 3. ‘My Promise Sent Unto Myself’: Futurity and the Language of Obligation in Sidney’s Old Arcadia, J.K. Barret 4. Turkish Futures: Prophecy and the Other, Brinda Charry 5. ‘Provide for the Future, and Times Succeeding’: Walter Ralegh and the Progress of Time, Andrew Hiscock 6. France Antarctique and France Equinoctiale: Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century French Representations of a Colonial Future in Brazil, Michael Harrigan 7. Planning Ahead: A Future for Old Age in Dialogue of Comfort, Henry IV Parts One and Two and All’s Well That Ends Well, Nina Taunton 8. The Future Now: Chance, Time and Natural Divination in the Thought of Francis Bacon, A. P. Langman 9. Prophetic Architecture: Agrippa d’Aubigné in Paris, Phillip John Usher 10. Astrology, Ritual and Revolution in the Works of Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639), Peter J. Forshaw 11. Mocking the Future in French Renaissance Mock-Prognostications, Hugh Roberts 12. ‘Meteorologies and Extravagant Speculations’: The Future Legends of Early Modern English Natural Philosophy, Rob Iliffe Notes on Contributors Index