Narrative as Time Machine
This is a course about different ways to tell time. Stories engage us in issues of time in two ways. First, narrative happens in time, and we are always experiencing the different ways that stories shape this experience (“How long will it take me to read this novel before class?” or “I had to read the same sentence three times before I understood it”). Second, narrative is always about time, or at least about different ways to represent time (historically, experientially, deep time, etc.) We will read a series of novels and study several films that engage these different ways of experiencing time. These works will help us think about and discuss issues like the representation of history, the deep time of evolution, the expansion and contraction of time (and space) in our contemporary global society and narrative techniques like stream of consciousness. Readings will include H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, Virginia Woolf, Orlando, Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine, William Golding, The Inheritors, Toni Morrison, A Mercy, and Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces. Films will include Ground Hog Day and Twelve Monkeys, among others. There will also be a course reader with theoretical essays.