Backwards Time

Mark Currie

in About Time

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780748624249
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652037 | DOI:
Backwards Time

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This chapter involves the readings of Graham Swift's Waterland and Martin Amis's Time's Arrow. Waterland is a novel full of explicit theorisation that finds its application in the storytelling itself: a novel which explores the theme of time through the temporal logic of storytelling. A discussion which aims to explain what it is that the contemporary novel has expressed, if anything, about time, is provided. In Amis's Time's Arrow, the disjunction between the narrator and the narrated is not a difference of location in time, but one of the experience of the direction of time. The effect that time reversal seems least in control of is the relationship between the meaning of words and the forward direction of time. Time's Arrow offers a striking example of a contradiction between what the novel does and what it says.

Keywords: time reversal; Graham Swift; Waterland; Martin Amis; Time's Arrow

Chapter.  9400 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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