Chapter

Tense Times

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624249.003.0008
Tense Times

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This chapter investigates the potential impact of tense philosophy on narratology and asks the question of whether it is possible to infer a metaphysics of time from the linguistic form of narrative. It aims to identify and analyse the ways in which the study of narrative can learn from the philosophy of tense, and the ways in which this relationship between narrative and tense map onto the debates surrounding time in the physical sciences. The distinction between A-series and B-series theories of time is capable of some important contributions to an understanding of narrative, and particularly so when it operates by moving between linguistics and metaphysics. The value of tense-based narratology would extend beyond the description of narrative fiction, and of its increasingly complex temporal structures, to an analysis of the relationship between time and narrative in general.

Keywords: tense philosophy; narratology; narrative fiction; theories of time; metaphysics; linguistics

Chapter.  7346 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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