This paper draws on Le Goff’s social history of purgatory and Richard Fenn’s concept of the purgatorial complex to outline a social history of deadlines. The purgatory complex is a form of sadomasochism where time is the disciplining tool. According to Fenn the purgatorial complex has its origins in the medieval invention of purgatory, the Protestantism of Richard Baxter, North American Methodism and Evangelism and the ideas of John Locke. In taking up these ideas I am giving particular attention to the hope inherent in the invention of purgatory. It offered the possibility of delaying the deadline, but was squandered through a neurotic imagery of time. Likewise in the secular world time is both the cure and the disease and deadlines the sadomasochistic and neurotic ritual of time.
- Purgatorial complex