Twentieth Century Novel
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn my dissertation, "Narrative Representations (of Time) in the 20th Century Novel" I examine the way in which depictions of time intersect with narrative representation in the modern and postmodern novel. I specifically focus on the use of parentheses as a way to capture differing types of chronology in narrative. The parenthesis, in a purely visual sense, physically disrupts the act of reading by creating a type of barrier around one text, separating it from the main narrative. I argue that it is with this disruption that 20th century authors were able to experiment with depictions of time and the disruption of linear narrative. Borrowing Gerard Genette's phrase "temporal ellipses" I examine how authors in the 20th century used the "temporal parentheses" in order to convey different temporal experiences in narrative. For Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, the parenthesis works as a way of presenting simultaneity of experiences when spatially separated. For William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom, the parenthesis creates a kind of compressed time, so that the past becomes a heavy burden upon the present, as represented by the way a narrative experience can be extended within parentheses. In Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children the parenthesis is used to bridge and create a dialogue between the present moment of the telling and the past moment of the story. In Toni Morrison's Sula, the parenthesis calls attention to physical placement, representing the way in which personal identity is linked to physical place and the rejection of permanence in the novel.
Degree ProgramGraduate College