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TIME SEQUENCE IN SPATIAL FICTION

Author(s): Ivo Vidan
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Hrvatsko filološko društvo

Summary/Abstract: ln discussing the modem novel in his essay Spatial Form in Modem Literature Joseph Frank ernphasizes only the thematic organization and the function of reflective references and juxtapositions, and does not discuss the relationship of time sequences in the inner organization of fiction. Yet two main types of novels can be established as diverging from the traditional narrative of consecutive chronology. One, usually taken as representative of modernism, can be perceived as a highly organized system of verbal motifs, of imagery, thematically more significant than the underlying story. The other one is closer to inherited epic conventions, but in it consecutive narration has been broken up or distorted by the authorial voice or a fictional narrator, or comp1icated by inner or extemal relationships that exist between two or more voices. The several strata of time that this involves necessarily distort the sequence of Significant action. Conrad's Lord Jim is briefly analyzed as an example of this type. A comparison of it with the superficially similar Chance by the same author leads to the conclusion that for the achievement of an effect of spatiality, Le. of the simultaneous significance of a novel in its total extension, a necessary element may reside in the quality of realization, of an intuitive awareness of its noumenal quality: the vision of symbolic significance that informs the whole story. A more extended analysis of time sequence might distinguish for models of spatial fiction (this excludes a variety of mixed or intermediate examples): 1) Novels in which the narrative situation is responsible for the establishment of a non-chronological account of events, though they have a continuous fable that develops in an ascertainable way. 2) The stream of consciousness novel, which places the criss-cross chronology into the mind of the characters. 3) The heterogeneous multipart novel. 4) The postmodernist novel of indeterminate sequentiality.

  • Issue Year: 1980
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 35-40
  • Page Count: 6
  • Language: Croatian