Bart Keunen’s boldly comprehensive theory of literature springs from the synthesis between narrative time and space forms called the chronotope (from the Greek chronos “time” and topos “place”). The originator of the theory, Mikhail Bakhtin, argued that each literary culture and each genre uses a family of chronotopes that endow the cultures and genres with their specific aesthetic charm, as well as their cognitive and moral strength.
After constructing an archeology of the chronotope, Keunen proposes a remarkably original description of the various types of chronotopes. Chronotypes that emphasize conflict are using Greek mythological names to explain equilibrium, or reconciliation, and conflict chronotopes. He then develops a plot typology that covers the whole history of Western narrative culture. With examples and resonances both ancient and modern, Keunen’s Time and Imagination will equip theorists in a wide range of fields with powerful tools for years to come.