In Above Time, James R. Guthrie explores the origins of the two preeminent transcendentalists' revolutionary approaches to time, as well as to the related concepts of history, memory, and change. Most critical discussions of this period neglect the important truth that the entire American transcendentalist project involved a transcendence of temporality as well as of materiality. Correspondingly, both writers call in their major works for temporal reform, to be achieved primarily by rejecting the past and future in order to live in an amplified present moment.
Emerson and Thoreau were compelled to see time in a new light by concurrent developments in the sciences and the professions. Geologists were just then hotly debating the age of the earth, while zoologists were beginning to unravel the mysteries of speciation, and archaeologists were deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs. These discoveries worked collectively to enlarge the scope of time, thereby helping pave the way for the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859.
Well aware of these wider cultural developments, Emerson and Thoreau both tried (although with varying degrees of success) to integrate contemporary scientific thought with their preexisting late-romantic idealism. As transcendentalists, they already believed in the existence of "correspondences"—affinities between man and nature, formalized as symbols. These symbols could then be decoded to discover the animating presence in the world of eternal laws as pervasive as the laws of science. Yet unlike scientists, Emerson and Thoreau hoped to go beyond merely understanding nature to achieving a kind of passionate identity with it, and they believed that such a union might be achieved only if time was first recognized as being a purely human construct with little or no validity in the rest of the natural world. Consequently, both authors employ a series of philosophical, rhetorical, and psychological strategies designed to jolt their readers out of time, often by attacking received cultural notions about temporality.
Dying for Time
Martin Hägglund Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PQ2631.R63A8195 2012 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Novels by Proust, Woolf, and Nabokov have been read as expressions of a desire to transcend time. Hägglund gives them another reading entirely: fear of time and death is generated by investment in temporal life. Engaging with Freud and Lacan, he opens a new way of reading the dramas of desire as they are staged in both philosophy and literature.
How Soon Is Now? performs a powerful critique of modernist temporal regimes through its revelatory exploration of queer ways of being in time as well as of the potential queerness of time itself. Carolyn Dinshaw focuses on medieval tales of asynchrony and on engagements with these medieval temporal worlds by amateur readers centuries later. In doing so, she illuminates forms of desirous, embodied being that are out of sync with ordinarily linear measurements of everyday life, that involve multiple temporalities, that precipitate out of time altogether. Dinshaw claims the possibility of a fuller, denser, more crowded now that theorists tell us is extant but that often eludes our temporal grasp.
Whether discussing Victorian men of letters who parodied the Book of John Mandeville, a fictionalized fourteenth-century travel narrative, or Hope Emily Allen, modern coeditor of the early-fifteenth-century Book of Margery Kempe, Dinshaw argues that these and other medievalists outside the academy inhabit different temporalities than modern professionals operating according to the clock. How Soon Is Now? clears space for amateurs, hobbyists, and dabblers who approach medieval worlds from positions of affect and attachment, from desires to build other kinds of worlds. Unruly, untimely, they urge us toward a disorderly and asynchronous collective.
Jazz in the Time of the Novel argues that a culture’s understanding of the concept of time plays a central role in its economic, social, and aesthetic affairs and that a culture arrives at its conception of time through its artistic practices.
Bruce Barnhart, in Jazz in the Time of the Novel, shows that American culture of the first three decades of the twentieth century was shaped by the kindred rhythms and movements of two particular art forms: jazz and fiction. At the beginning of the twentieth century, widespread changes in America’s social, demographic, and economic norms threatened longstanding faith in a unified and inevitable movement towards a better future. As Barnhart shows both jazz and novels of the period address these temporal uncertainties, inserting themselves into arguments about the proper unfolding of an affirmative American future. Barnhart proposes that these two aesthetic forms can be viewed as co-participants in an ongoing discussion about the way in which the future should be imagined and experienced—a discussion symptomatic of the broader exchanges taking place within the many trajectories comprising early twentieth-century American culture.
This book includes in-depth approaches to numerous examples of jazz and the novel, including performances by James P. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, and Ethel Waters, and novels by James Weldon Johnson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Nella Larsen, among others. In addition to the details of specific musical and literary works, Jazz in the Time of the Novel offers careful consideration as to how these works impact their social context.
For Thomas Pynchon, the characteristic features of late capitalism—the rise of the military-industrial complex, consumerism, bureaucratization and specialization in the workplace, standardization at all levels of social life, and the growing influence of the mass media—all point to a transformation in the way human beings experience time and duration. Focusing on Pynchon’s novels as representative artifacts of the postwar period, Stefan Mattessich analyzes this temporal transformation in relation not only to Pynchon’s work but also to its literary, cultural, and theoretical contexts. Mattessich theorizes a new kind of time—subjective displacement—dramatized in the parody, satire, and farce deployed through Pynchon’s oeuvre. In particular, he is interested in showing how this sense of time relates to the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Examining this movement as an instance of flight or escape and exposing the beliefs behind it, Mattessich argues that the counterculture’s rejection of the dominant culture ultimately became an act of self-cancellation, a rebellion in which the counterculture found itself defined by the very order it sought to escape. He points to parallels in Pynchon’s attempts to dramatize and enact a similar experience of time in the doubling-back, crisscrossing, and erasure of his writing. Mattessich lays out a theory of cultural production centered on the ethical necessity of grasping one’s own susceptibility to discursive forms of determination.
Ancient literature features many powerful narratives of madness, depression, melancholy, lovesickness, simple boredom, and the effects of such psychological states upon individual sufferers. Peter Toohey turns his attention to representations of these emotional states in the Classical, Hellenistic, and especially the Roman imperial periods in a study that illuminates the cultural and aesthetic significance of this emotionally charged literature. His probing analysis shows that a shifting representation of these afflicted states, and the concomitant sense of isolation from one's social affinities and surroundings, manifests a developing sense of the self and self-consciousness in the ancient world.
This book makes important contributions to a variety of disciplines including classical studies, comparative literature, literary and art history, history of medicine, history of emotions, psychiatry, and psychology.
Peter Toohey is Professor and Department Head of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary, Canada.
Life is short. This indisputable fact of existence has driven human ingenuity since antiquity, whether through efforts to lengthen our lives with medicine or shorten the amount of time we spend on work using technology. Alongside this struggle to manage the pressure of life’s ultimate deadline, human perception of the passage and effects of time has also changed. In On Borrowed Time, Harald Weinrich examines an extraordinary range of materials—from Hippocrates to Run Lola Run—to put forth a new conception of time and its limits that, unlike older models, is firmly grounded in human experience.
Weinrich’s analysis of the roots of the word time connects it to the temples of the skull, demonstrating that humans first experienced time in the beating of their pulses. Tracing this corporeal perception of time across literary, religious, and philosophical works, Weinrich concludes that time functions as a kind of sixth sense—the crucial sense that enables the other five.
Written with Weinrich’s customary narrative elegance, On Borrowed Time is an absorbing—and, fittingly, succinct—meditation on life’s inexorable brevity.
Francis M. Dunn's Present Shock in Late Fifth-Century Greece examines the widespread social and cultural disorientation experienced by Athenians in a period that witnessed the revolution of 411 B.C.E. and the military misadventures in 413 and 404---a disturbance as powerful as that described in Alvin Toffler's Future Shock. The late fifth century was a time of vast cultural and intellectual change, ultimately leading to a shift away from Athenians' traditional tendency to seek authority in the past toward a greater reliance on the authority of the present. At the same time, Dunn argues, writers and thinkers not only registered the shock but explored ways to adjust to living with this new sense of uncertainty. Using literary case studies from this period, Dunn shows how narrative techniques changed to focus on depicting a world in which events were no longer wholly predetermined by the past, impressing upon readers the rewards and challenges of struggling to find their own way forward.
Although Present Shock in Late Fifth-Century Greece concentrates upon the late fifth century, this book's interdisciplinary approach will be of broad interest to scholars and students of ancient Greece, as well as anyone fascinated by the remarkably flexible human understanding of time.
Francis M. Dunn is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of Tragedy's End: Closure and Innovation in Euripidean Drama (Oxford, 1996), and coeditor of Beginnings in Classical Literature (Cambridge, 1992) and Classical Closure: Reading the End in Greek and Latin Literature (Princeton, 1997).
"In this fascinating study, Francis Dunn argues that in late fifth-century Athens, life became focused on the present---that moving instant between past and future. Time itself changed: new clocks and calendars were developed, and narratives were full of suspense, accident, and uncertainty about things to come. Suddenly, future shock was now."
---David Konstan, John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and the Humanistic Tradition and Professor of Comparative Literature, Brown University
"In this fascinating work, Dunn examines the ways in which the Greeks constructed time and then shows how these can shed new light on various philosophical, dramatic, historical, scientific and rhetorical texts of the late fifth century. An original and most interesting study."
---Michael Gagarin, James R. Dougherty, Jr., Centennial Professor of Classics, the University of Texas at Austin
"Interesting, clear, and compelling, Present Shock in Late Fifth-Century Greece analyzes attitudes toward time in ancient Greece, focusing in particular on what Dunn terms 'present shock,' in which rapid cultural change undermined the authority of the past and submerged individuals in a disorienting present in late fifth-century Athens. Dunn offers smart and lucid analyses of a variety of complex texts, including pre-Socratic and sophistic philosophy, Euripidean tragedy, Thucydides, and medical texts, making an important contribution to discussions about classical Athenian thought that will be widely read and cited by scholars working on Greek cultural history and historiography."
---Victoria Wohl, Associate Professor, Department of Classics, University of Toronto
What is the political value of time, and where does that value reside? Should politics place its hope in future possibility, or does that simply defer action in the present? Can the present ground a vision of change, or is it too circumscribed by the status quo?
In Qualified Hope: A Postmodern Politics of Time, Mitchum Huehls contends that conventional treatments of time’s relationship to politics are limited by a focus on real-world experiences of time. By contrast, the innovative literary forms developed by authors in direct response to political events such as the Cold War, globalization, the emergence of identity politics, and 9/11 offer readers uniquely literary experiences of time. And it is in these literary experiences of time that Qualified Hope identifies more complicated—and thus more productive—ways to think about the time-politics relationship.
Qualified Hope challenges the conventional characterization of postmodernism as a period in which authors reject time in favor of space as the primary category for organizing experience and knowledge. And by identifying a common commitment to time at the heart of postmodern literature, Huehls suggests that the period-defining divide between multiculturalism and theory is not as stark as previously thought.
A revolution in clock technology in England during the 1660s allowed people to measure time more accurately, attend to it more minutely, and possess it more privately than previously imaginable. In Telling Time, Stuart Sherman argues that innovations in prose emerged simultaneously with this technological breakthrough, enabling authors to recount the new kind of time by which England was learning to live and work.
Through brilliant readings of Samuel Pepys's diary, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's daily Spectator, the travel writings of Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, and the novels of Daniel Defoe and Frances Burney, Sherman traces the development of a new way of counting time in prose—the diurnal structure of consecutively dated installments—within the cultural context of the daily institutions which gave it form and motion. Telling Time is not only a major accomplishment for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literary studies, but it also makes important contributions to current discourse in cultural studies.
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.
Time and Narrative builds on Paul Ricoeur's earlier analysis, in The Rule of Metaphor, of semantic innovation at the level of the sentence. Ricoeur here examines the creation of meaning at the textual level, with narrative rather than metaphor as the ruling concern.
Ricoeur finds a "healthy circle" between time and narrative: time is humanized to the extent that it portrays temporal experience. Ricoeur proposes a theoretical model of this circle using Augustine's theory of time and Aristotle's theory of plot and, further, develops an original thesis of the mimetic function of narrative. He concludes with a comprehensive survey and critique of modern discussions of historical knowledge, understanding, and writing from Aron and Mandelbaum in the late 1930s to the work of the Annales school and that of Anglophone philosophers of history of the 1960s and 1970s.
"This work, in my view, puts the whole problem of narrative, not to mention philosophy of history, on a new and higher plane of discussion."—Hayden White, History and Theory
"Superb. . . . A fine point of entrance into the work of one of the eminent thinkers of the present intellectual age."—Joseph R. Gusfield, Contemporary Sociology
In volume 1 of this three-volume work, Paul Ricoeur examined the relations between time and narrative in historical writing. Now, in volume 2, he examines these relations in fiction and theories of literature.
Ricoeur treats the question of just how far the Aristotelian concept of "plot" in narrative fiction can be expanded and whether there is a point at which narrative fiction as a literary form not only blurs at the edges but ceases to exist at all. Though some semiotic theorists have proposed all fiction can be reduced to an atemporal structure, Ricoeur argues that fiction depends on the reader's understanding of narrative traditions, which do evolve but necessarily include a temporal dimension. He looks at how time is actually expressed in narrative fiction, particularly through use of tenses, point of view, and voice. He applies this approach to three books that are, in a sense, tales about time: Virgina Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway; Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain; and Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
"Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy—critical, economical, and clear."—Eugen Weber, New York Times Book Review
"A major work of literary theory and criticism under the aegis of philosophical hermenutics. I believe that . . . it will come to have an impact greater than that of Gadamer's Truth and Method—a work it both supplements and transcends in its contribution to our understanding of the meaning of texts and their relationship to the world."—Robert Detweiler, Religion and Literature
"One cannot fail to be impressed by Ricoeur's encyclopedic knowledge of the subject under consideration. . . . To students of rhetoric, the importance of Time and Narrative . . . is all too evident to require extensive elaboration."—Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, Quarterly Journal of Speech
In the first two volumes of this work, Paul Ricoeur examined the relations between time and narrative in historical writing, fiction, and theories of literature. This final volume, a comprehensive reexamination and synthesis of the ideas developed in volumes 1 and 2, stands as Ricoeur's most complete and satisfying presentation of his own philosophy.
Ricoeur's aim here is to explicate as fully as possible the hypothesis that has governed his inquiry, namely, that the effort of thinking at work in every narrative configuration is completed in a refiguration of temporal experience. To this end, he sets himself the central task of determing how far a poetics of narrative can be said to resolve the "aporias"—the doubtful or problematic elements—of time. Chief among these aporias are the conflicts between the phenomenological sense of time (that experienced or lived by the individual) and the cosmological sense (that described by history and physics) on the one hand and the oneness or unitary nature of time on the other. In conclusion, Ricoeur reflects upon the inscrutability of time itself and attempts to discern the limits of his own examination of narrative discourse.
"As in his previous works, Ricoeur labors as an imcomparable mediator of often estranged philosophical approaches, always in a manner that compromises neither rigor nor creativity."—Mark Kline Taylor, Christian Century
"In the midst of two opposing contemporary options—either to flee into ever more precious readings . . . or to retreat into ever more safe readings . . . —Ricoeur's work offers an alternative option that is critical, wide-ranging, and conducive to new applications."—Mary Gerhart, Journal of Religion
In Horace’s Odes love cannot last. Is the poet unromantic, as some critics claim? Is he merely realistic? Or is he, as Ronnie Ancona contends, relating the erotic to time in a more complex and interesting way than either of these positions allows? Rejecting both the notion that Horace fails as a love poet because he undermines the romantic ideal that love conquers time and the notion that he succeeds becauses he eschews illusions about love’s ability to endure, this book challenges the assumption that temporality must inevitably pose a threat to the erotic. The author argues that temporality, understood as the contingency the male poet/lover wants to but cannot control, explains why love "fails" in Horace’s Odes. Drawing on contemporary theory, including recent work in feminist criticism, Ancona provides close readings of fourteen odes, which are presented in English translation as well as in Latin. Through a discussion of the poet’s use of various temporal devices—the temporal adverb, seasonal imagery, and the lover or beloved’s own temporality—she shows how Horace makes time dominate the erotic context and, further, how the version of love that appears in his poems is characterized by the lover’s desire to control the beloved. The romantic ideal of a timeless love, apparently rejected by the poet, emerges here instead as an underlying element of the poet’s portrayal of the erotic. In a critique of the predominant modes of recent Horatian scholarship on the love odes, Ancona offers an alternative view that takes into account the male gender of the lover and its effect on the structure of desire in the poems. By doing so, she advances a broader project in recent classical studies that aims to include discussion of features of classical literature, such as sexuality and gender, which have previously escaped critical attention. Addressing aspects of Horace as a love poet—especially the dynamics of gender relations—that critics have tended to ignore, this book articulates his version of love as something not to be championed or condemned but rather to be seen as challengingly problematic. Of primary interest to classicists, it will also engage the attention of scholars and teachers in the humanities with specializations in gender, sexuality, lyric poetry, or feminist theory.