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Teaching &Learning Guide for: Making Time: Narrative Temporality in Twentieth-Century Literature and Theory

Richardson, B.; Wellman, J.

Literature compass VOL 6; NUMBER 1, ; 2009, 244-248 -- BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD (pages 244-248) -- 2009

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  • Title:
    Teaching &Learning Guide for: Making Time: Narrative Temporality in Twentieth-Century Literature and Theory
  • Author: Richardson, B.;
    Wellman, J.
  • Found In: Literature compass VOL 6; NUMBER 1, ; 2009, 244-248
  • Journal Title: Literature compass
  • Subjects: Literature; LCC: PN49; Dewey: 800
  • Publication Details: BLACKWELL PUBLISHING LTD
  • Language: English
  • Abstract: This guide accompanies the following article: Brian Richardson, `Making Time: Narrative Temporality in Twentieth-Century Literature and Theory'. Literature Compass 3.3 (2006): 603-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00321.x Authors' Introduction Poised at the beginning of the twentieth century, F. T. Marinetti claimed in his 1909 `Futurist Manifesto': We are on the furthest promontory of the ages! ... Why should we be looking back over our shoulders, if what we desire is to smash down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We are living already in the realms of the Absolute, for we have already created infinite, omnipresent speed. (14) Scholars have long noted that major scientific discoveries during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Einstein's theory of relativity, as well as new technological innovations such as the railway, the telegraph, and the cinema brought into question and, for some, radically altered the traditional Western concept of time as stable and objectively measurable. This change is reflected in the work of early modernist writers, who consciously explored alternative notions of time, and avant-garde and postmodern writers further extended these experiments. By tracing how these early literary experiments with time developed over the course of the twentieth century, this article not only reflects the persistence of our interest in questions of time but also opens for consideration the question of how literature and literary theory have actively contributed to our still changing conception of time and how we perceive it. Authors Recommend: Karen Newman, Jay Clayton, and Marianne Hirsch, eds.,Time and the Literary (New York: Routledge, 2002). This edition contains essays on philosophical, cybernetic, and scientific concepts of time and their applications to literature. Especially recommended is Clayton's essay on `Genome Time'. C. S. Patrides, ed., Aspects of Time (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976). A worthwhile collection and Richard Schechner's essay, `There's Lots of Time in Godot' is very useful. Ricardo Quinones,The Renaissance Discovery of Time (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972). Quinones describes the historical, social, and technological backgrounds to the understanding of time in the West since the Renaissance. This provides a good lead in to Stephen Kern's account of conceptions of time since 1880, as well as way in to Shakespearean chronologies. Brian Richardson, ` "Time is Out of Joint": Narrative Models and the Temporality of the Drama', Poetics Today 8 (1987): 299-310. Richardson examines time in drama. Ursula Heise, Chronoschims: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). This is the best book-length study of postmodern temporality. Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man (Santa Rasa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1993 [1927]). Lewis provides a dissenting (indeed, eccentric) contemporary response to what he called `the time children'. David Carr, Time, Narrative, and History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986). Carr gives a suggestive approach to time in historical narratives from the perspective of European philosophy (especially Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty). Online Materials: http://www.studyoftime.org The International Society for the Study of Time This link will allow you to access their journal, KronoScope, papers from their conference, and reviews of recent books on time. http://narrative.georgetown.edu/ International Society for the Study of Narrative The ISSN is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of narrative in various kinds of media. Visit their Web site for access to the ISSN's journal, Narrative, teaching resources, and wiki. http://www.columbia.edu/~bwr2001/papers/selectivity.pdf Bruce Robbins, `Temporizing: Time and Politics in the Humanities and Human Rights'. boundary 2 32.1 (Spring 2005): 191-208. Robbins's article discusses the concept of time within the context of issues of ethics, forgiveness, and restitution. Exploring the intersection between differing concepts of temporality, human rights discourse, and the humanities, he argues in favour of what he calls a ` "progressive" temporality' that makes recovery and reconciliation possible. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/theory/pomo.html The Po-Mo Page: Postmodern, Postmodernism, Postmodernity Created by Martin Irvine at Georgetown University, this site offers an explanation of the two major movements in Western literature in the twentieth century, modernism and postmodernism, including changing notions of narrative and narrative form. http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/andrews__stir_fry_texts.html Interesting Digital Experiments with Time and Narrative: Stir Fry Texts by Jim Andrews Stir Fry Texts is a digital work of art based on postmodern experiments with textual and visual `cut ups', similar to those produced by William S. Burroughs and Salvador Dali. http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/holeton__frequently_asked_que stions_about_hypertext.html Frequently Asked Questions about `Hypertext' by Richard Holeton Using a narrative model similar to that of Nabokov's Pale Fire, Holeton's Frequently Asked Questions about `Hypertext' requires readers to reconstruct the chronology of a story from episodes recounted in critical commentary on a primary text. http://agrippa.english.ucsb.edu/ The Agrippa Files by William Gibson Sponsored by University of California, Santa Barbara, this site is an online archive dedicated to William Gibson's Agrippa (a Book of the Dead), a digitally stored poem that self-erases as it is read, offering insight into the relationship between time, memory and media. Sample Syllabus: Material for a Course on Time and Narrative (or Segments on Time and Narrative in a class on Modern Fiction or Critical Theory): Course Introduction: Brian Richardson, `Making Time: Narrative Temporality in Twentieth-Century Literature and Theory'. Literature Compass 3.3 (2006): 603-12, 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00321.x Fiction, Novellas and Novels: Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy Gerard de Nerval, Sylvie Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf, Orlando William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury Alejo Carpentier, `Journey Back to the Source' Elizabeth Jane Howard, The Long View Maurice Blanchot, Death Sentence Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jealousy Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children Martin Amis, Time's Arrow Fiction, Stories: Ambrose Bierce, `An Occurrence at Owl Creek', Collected Stories Jorge Luis Borges, `The Garden of Forking Paths', `The Secret Miracle', Labyrinths Vladimir Nabokov, `The Circle', Collected Stories Ilse Aichinger, `Mirror Story', The Bound Man and Other Stories Philip K. Dick, `A Little Something for Us Tempunauts', Best of Philip K. Dick Italo Calvino, `t zero', t zero and Other Stories Jeanette Winterson, `The Poetics of Sex', The Penguin Book of Lesbian Short Stories Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams Theory: Mikhail Bakhtin, `Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel' Gerard Genette, `Order, Duration, and Frequency' Paul Ricoeur, `Narrative Time' Robyn Warhol, `Queering the Marriage Plot: How Serial Form Works in Maupin's Tales of the City' Brian Richardson, `Beyond Story and Discourse: Narrative Time in Postmodern and Nonmimetic Fiction' These theoretical texts are collected in Brian Richardson, ed.,Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2002). Focus Questions 1. Richardson's paper presents a largely historical account of changing practices in the literary representation of time, and yet there are many `untimely' predecessors and late incarnations of earlier practices. How might we account for these two trajectories? 2. How can the types of temporal construction discussed in this essay be applied to film? Is there anything lost or gained in cinematic temporality? Films to analyse include Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali's Un Chien Andalou (1927), Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957), Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run (1999), Christopher Nolan's Memento (2001) and, for the daring, Alain Renais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year at Marienbad (1961). 3. How is chronology fashioned in a hypertext fiction? 4. Jorge Luis Borges has employed unusual temporalies in a number of his stories, such as `The Garden of Forking Paths', `Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius', `The Secret Miracle', `The Immortals', and `The Aleph' and an essay (which may also be a fiction), `A New Refutation of Time'. Compare these stories with Borges-inspired works by J. G. Ballard such as `The Garden of Time' and `Chronopolis' (both in The Best Short Stories of J. G. Ballard [New York: Holt, 1978]) and Martin Amis: `The Time Disease' and `The Immortals' in Einstein's Monsters (London: Cape, 1987). 5. In his essay, Richardson mentions several ways authors experiment with narrative chronology, including adhering to `relatively pure linearity', creating a sense of `quasi-linearity or a progression without chronology', and experimenting with reverse or circular linearity. Is it ever possible to have a completely non-linear narrative? Why or why not? 6. Read Julia Kristeva's essay `Women's Time', which is mentioned in Richardson's article, and evaluate her argument. What is the relationship between one's body, social identity, and one's experience of time? Within Kristeva's text specifically, what is the relation, in terms of temporality, between her argument and the double columned layout which her argument is presented in. 7. Discuss the roles of narrative beginnings and endings and how they reinforce (or possibly undermine) traditional notions of temporality. Some texts to consider in relation to this question are Woolf's The Waves, Rushdie's Midnight's Children and Roy's The God of Small Things. Seminar/Project Idea Group Project: Twentieth Century Narrative and Temporality This project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of some of the different ways twentieth century authors and theorists have experimented with narrative and temporality by rewriting a well-known short story or folktale using one of the various models described by Richardson in his article. Working in groups of three to four, students will collectively choose a story and then prepare their rewriting individually. As part of the project, each student should include an author's introduction explaining which original text was chosen and why, which literary or theoretical model the student's rewriting explores, and how their experimentation with temporality and form changes the story's overall thematics. Students will then read the rewritings of other group members and together write a group conclusion exploring differences and connections within their `collection' of rewritings. Works Cited Marinetti, F. T. `The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism'. F.T. Marinetti Critical Writings. Ed. Gunter Berghaus. Trans. Doug Thompson. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006. 11-17.
  • Identifier: Journal ISSN: 1741-4113
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): 5276.720880
  • UIN: ETOCRN244274339

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