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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

2003 - 2005

Selection of the most interesting abstracts and full texts.

Literature in Time, Time in Literature



The author examines three aspects of multiple relations of the work of literature and time- First, he focuses on the genesis of the work itself. Modern fiction offers an insight into the world of writing as a constant considering of possibilities and alternatives. Writing is a track of human existence, just as love or career was in the classical novel of the 19th century. This fact was captured by Borges in his description of a fictitious Chinese novel (The Garden of Forking Paths). Second, the birth of a novel in historical time is considered. Two different concepts of historicity are taken into account: the historicity based on the idea of linear time and progress (the author illustrates this concept by Condorcet’s book Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind), and the historicity based on the idea of historical cycles in which certain transcendental assumptions of the understanding of the world are developed (Giambattista Vico, Arnold Toynbee). The two different concepts of historicity serve as a basis for two basic types of a classical novel. On the one hand, the “novel of formation” or “education” (Bildungsroman), composed as a progress in time to some goal. On the other hand it is the “novel of return”, an analogy of the idyllic epic in which the hero does not leave the original world. The characteristic feature of the first type is a forward movement (the topos of a journey). The typical feature of the second type is a free sailing through time, the permeation of time planes (Virginia Woolf). The time composition leads to the preference of, respectively, one-time, non-recurring events or of repeated actions. The author mentions the lyrical time which is superficially non-recurring but the position of the lyrical subject is directed to the time of eternal duration or eternal flow.

The abstract has not been proof-read.