EN377: Literature Theory and Time, 2018-19
This course, open to second and third year students, introduces students to theories and philosophies of time in relation to some literary texts that involve themselves closely with temporality (Tristam Shandy; Mrs Dalloway; The Accidental; The Argonauts). We will be thinking about how time is represented in these narratives; about how narrative helps us imagine tenses such as the historical past and the future. We will consider the relatively recent history of standardized time, and the effects of there being a “mean” time on patterns of work and leisure and on concepts of the self and the nation. How were ideas of the past and the future invented? The question of media will also be important here as we consider what it means for a book or an image or a poem to be situated in time, and ask whether media themselves are responsible now for our sense of time. Have we outsourced time itself to machines, and what might this mean for our own agency? Above all, students taking this module should be interested in engaging deeply and in a sustained way with both literary and philosophical texts.
A further overview of some of the texts we will be reading can be found here in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia entry on Literary Theory and Time.
Pathway information (for students who enrolled on their course prior to 2019/20)
This is a Pathway Approved Option to the English Pathway and the Theory Pathway. It is a Options Module for all Pathways.
30% 3000 word essay; 20% Reflective journal; 50% 3-hr exam
For those taking the module next year, the assessment will change and be different for those taking it in 2nd and 3rd years.
100% assessed: 1 x 2500 word essay (30%); 1 x 4000 word essay (50%); reflective journal (20%)
50/50: 1 x 2500 word essay (30%); 1 x 2hr exam (50%); reflective journal (20%)
100% assessed: 1 x 3000 word essay (30%); 1 x 5000 word essay (50%); reflective journal (20%)
50/50: 1 x 3000 essay (30%); 1 x 3hr exam (50%); reflective journal (20%)
Week One: Introduction
Mrs Dalloway, up to page 80.
Week Two: Time in Narrative
Mrs Dalloway, to the end.
Week Three: Others' Times/Prolepsis
Week Four: Space and Time
Mikhail Bakhtin, “Forms of Time and Chronotope in the Novel” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, (UTP, 1981), pg 84-258.
Week Five: Phenomenological Time
Henri Bergson, from Time and Free Will; Creative Evolution
Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (London: Athlone Press, 1989)
Ali Smith, The Accidental
Week Eight: : The Future
Heidegger on anxiety, from Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (London: SCM Press, 1962)
Eugène Minkowski, Lived Time , trans. Nancy Metzel (Evanston: Northwestern Press, 1970)
Stephen Kern, ‘The Future’, The Culture of Space and Time: 1880-1918 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983)
Week Nine: Trauma, History, Time
Hayden White, ‘The Modernist Event’, in The Persistence of History: Cinema, Television and the Modern Event, ed. Vivian Sobchack (New York: Routledge, 1996)
Lauren Berlant, ‘Trauma and Ineloquence’, Cultural Values, 5, no. 1 (January 2001), 41-58
Suzanna Radstone, ‘The War of the Fathers: Trauma, Fantasy and September 11’, Literature and the Contemporary, 117-123
Week Ten: Women's Time, Present Time
Julia Kristeva, ‘Women’s Time’, trans. Alice Jardine and Harry Blake, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 7, no. 1 (1981)
From Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time: Modernity and the Avant Garde (London: Verso, 1995)
Carol Watts, ‘Back to the future: revisiting Kristeva’s ‘Women’s Time’’, Literature and the Contemporary, ed. Roger Luckhurst and Peter Marks, 156-178
Term Two. -- Please follow this schedule not the one on Tallis Aspire
Week One: Reading in Time
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Chapter 2 (pg 9-36)
from Stuart Sherman, Telling Time
from De Certeau, Reading as Poaching
Week Two: Beginnings
Lawrence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, Books 1-2
Week Three: Middles
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, Book 3-4
Week Four: Endings
Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, to the end
Week Five: Technology and Time (there are also hard copies of these readings outside my office door)
Mark B. N. Hansen. "Living (with) Technical Time: From Media Surrogacy to Distributed Cognition." Theory, Culture & Society 26 .2-3 (March/May, 2009): 294-315.
Week Six: Queer Time
You may also want to start the Argonauts.
Week Eight: (Not) Reproducing Time
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
Week Nine: Time and the Anthropocene
Week Ten: Slow and New Time
Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (Verso, 2013) (please read chapter 1)
Lynne Segal, Out of Time
Required Texts for Purchase
Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, OUP (2009)
Lawrence Sterne, Tristram Shandy, OUP (2009)
Ali Smith, The Accidental (2005)
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts (2014)
Recommended Extra/Essay Reading
Bergson, Henri, Creative Evolution, in Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, ed. by Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Jane Goldman, and Olga Taxidou (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998), pp. 68-71
Bergson, Henri, Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, trans. F.L. Pogson Bergson, Henri Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (New York: Zone Books, 1988)
Kristeva, Julia, Time and Sense: Proust and the Experience of Literature (New York: Columbia, 1996)
Lloyd, Genevieve. Being in Time: Selves and Narrators in Philosophy and Literature (London: Routledge, 1993)
Deleuze, Gilles, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (London: Athlone Press, 1992)
---, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta (London: Athlone Press, 1989)
Doan, Mary-Anne, The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003)
Kittler, Friedrich, Discourse Networks: 1800/1900, trans. Michael Metteer (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990)
---, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999)
Marx, Leo, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal In America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964)
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Berg, 1986)
Solnit, Rebecca, Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge (London: Bloomsbury, 2003) Greenslade, William, Degeneration, Culture and the Novel 1880-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
Nicholls, Peter, Modernisms: A Literary Guide (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995) Schleifer, Ronald, Modernism and Time: The Logic of Abundance in Literature, Science and Culture, 1880-1930 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
Harvey, David, The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989)
McQuire, Scott, Visions of Modernity: Representation, Memory, Time and Space in the Age of the Camera (London: SAGE, 1998)
Birkerts, Sven, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1994)
Douglas, Jane Yellowlees, The End of Books or Books Without End: Reading Interactive Narratives (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000)
Erikson, Thomas Hylland, ‘Speed is Contagious’, in The New Media Theory Reader, ed. by Robert Hassan and Julian Thomas (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2006), pp. 272-278
Harpold, Terry, ‘The Contingencies of the Hypertext Link’, in The New Media Reader, ed. by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003)
Hesse, Carla, ‘Books In Time’ in The Future of the Book, ed. by Geoffrey Nunberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 21-36
Lee, Heejin and Liebenau, Jonathan, ‘Time and the Internet’, in The New Media Theory Reader, ed. by Robert Hassan and Julian Thomas (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2006), pp. 266-271
Huyssen, Andreas, Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 249-260.
King, Nicola, Memory, Narrative, Identity: Remembering the Self (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000)
LaCapra, Dominick, History and Memory after Auschwitz (London: Cornell University Press,1998)
---, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994)
Bender, John, and David E. Wellbery, eds, Chronotypes: The Construction of Time (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1991)
Krämer, Sybille, 'The Cultural Techniques of Time Axis Manipulation: On Friedrich Kittler’s Conception of Media' Theory Culture Society Vol. 23 (7–8) 2006: pp 93–109.
Fukuyama, Francis, The End of History and the Last Man (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1992)
Gray, John, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (London: Allen Lane, 2007)
Harpold, Terry, and Philip, Kavita, ‘“Party Over, Oops, Out of Time”: Y2K, Technological ‘Risk’and Informational Millenarianism’, in NMEDIAC 1.1 (2002) (available online O’Leary, Stephen, Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)
Thompson, Damian, The End of Time: Faith and Fear in the Shadow of the Millennium (Hanover, NH.: University Press of New England, 1997)
Benjamin, Walter ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History,’ Illuminations (London: Fontana, 1992), pp. 246-258
Friedland, Roger, and Deirdre Boden, eds, NowHere: Space, Time and Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)
Gould, Stephen Jay, Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991)
Gallagher, Sean, The Inordinance of Time (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1998)
Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (London: Bantam Books-Transworld Publishers, 1988)
Kennedy, J. B., Space, Time and Einstein (Chesham: Acumen, 2003)
Kern, Stephen, The Culture of Time and Space: 1880-1918 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983)
Levinas, Emmanuel, Time and the Other [and additional essays]. Trans. Richard A. Cohen (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1987)
Lewis, Wyndham, Time and Western Man (London: Chatto and Windus, 1927)
Minkowski, Eugene, Lived Time: Phenomenological and Psychopathological Studies (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970)
Osborne, Peter, The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-garde (London: Verso, 1995)
Poulet, Georges, Studies in Human Time (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956)
White, Hayden, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Interpretation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989)
50/50: 1x 3,00 words essay (30%) + 1x 3hr exam (50%,) + journal (20%)
Both the exam and the essay will require students to write on a combination of one literary text and at least one theory text. The journal, which may be kept in different formats, will require students to write 1-2 page entries over the course of the year about 8 different readings in relation to their own experience of time.
Sample Essay Questions