The book addresses the notion of time and temporality and its various conceptualizations in the theories of the new physics, utilized as a thematic and formal framework in the British novel of the twenty-first century. As the Newtonian conception of reality does not provide a reliable framework within which to situate human experience and generate meaning, fiction writers have recognized quantum mechanics as a potent source from which to draw in search of new metaphors. The quantum has become a part of the understanding of reality, and its concepts and assumptions have been absorbed into the textual structure and content of literary fiction. Shapes of Time in British Twenty-First Century Quantum Fiction examines human temporality as mediated by the timeshapes imagined within the context of the new physics, and explores the philosophical implications for human temporality and identity of situating an individual within the realm of physical time. Its chapters deal with various concepts of the new physics connected with temporality, and their appropriation in a selected novel: parallel universes in Andrew Crumey’s Sputnik Caledonia (2008), eternal recurrence and Poincaré’s theorem in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004), chaos theory in Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness (2009), and the end of time in Scarlett Thomas’s The End of Mr. Y (2006). Each of them corresponds to a different conceptual shape of time: tree, concertina, spiral and snapshot, respectively, which is enacted on the formal level. Analyzing the new time constructs in a narrative, this book thus uncovers passages between scientific and humanistic standpoints, and reveals quantum fiction to be an effective tool for visualizing the subjective non-homogenous experience of private time.

Published in Publikacje

The papers gathered in the present collection investigate time and temporality from a number of interdisciplinary perspectives: literary or film studies, postcolonial theory, physics, philosophy, psychology, urban studies, history and gender studies. This wide spectrum of scholarly approaches encompasses chapters dealing with the convergences of time and the human psyche; time and the body; time and memory; time and trauma; time and change; time and cultural reproduction; time and language; time and the city; and time and identity. It transpires that the imaginary refigurations of time more often than not constitute resistance against the linearity of chronometric time, represented by institutions, capitalism, government and power, and attempts to colonize the human psyche. In attempting to assault this hegemony of linear time, literary, cinematographic and cultural practice enacts exploding temporalities to reflect the multifacetedness and multidirectionality of the human experience of time.

Published in Publikacje
Thursday, 17 Jan. 2013

Sonia Front

Published in Staff

The essays gathered in the present collection provide textual explorations of the theoretical borderland between interiors and exteriors, undertaken from a variety of perspectives and representing varying approaches and understandings of these terms. In the realm of theory, the distinction between what we choose to include and what we exclude remains a political choice, often fraught with dilemmas that cannot be resolved. How to discern between interiors and exteriors? Where do we draw dividing lines? Do we want to draw them anymore? Or, alternately, can we afford not to divide and discern between the inside and outside, between here and there, between “us” and “them”? If the binary divisions, so much discredited, no longer hold, if we must include multiplicity and plurality of readings, is any distinction between these dimensions possible? Essays collected in the present volume attempt to present a wide plethora of answers to these questions.

Published in Publikacje

The subsequent chapters of the book deal with selected questions from Jeanette Winterson's fiction, such as gender issues, love and eroticism, language and time, constituting areas within which Winterson's characters seek their identity. As they contest and repudiate clichés, stereotypes and patterns, their journey of self-discovery is accomplished through transgression. The book analyzes how the subversion of phallogocentric narrative and scenarios entails the reenvisaging of relations between the genders and reconceptualization of female desire. The author attempts to determine the consequences of Winterson's manipulations with gender, sexuality and time, and her disruption of the binary system.

Published in Publikacje