The speech of Time in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is here closely analyzed as the poet’s statement of his philosophy of time. The play’s breach of Aristotle’s unity of time—the play at this point lets pass sixteen years—introduces several other breaches of received wisdom about time. Shakespeare rejects the view of time the destroyer in his sonnets, replacing it with a view of time that combines time as judge, as that which tries or tests, as maker of lawfulness and laws, as gardener and agent of growth, and as emergent consciousness. An early feminist work, the play sees the creative function of time as characteristic of female ethics and action. Most radically, time is constitutively recursive in its nature, not a simple dimension, radically unpredictable yet retrodictable once an event has occurred. Nothing is lost, though the past itself grows in meaning as new time accumulates upon it.
Time and its representation have been historically fascinating, as Books of Hours, allegories, and artistic calendars testify. This attention to time has become increasingly more urgent recently, as studies confirm. The exhibition Dall’oggi al domani (From Today till Tomorrow), held in Rome in 2016, focused on the discrete single day, with its date and its 24- hour rhythm. The article addresses the main aspects of that exhibition, its historical background, the conceptual attraction for calendars’ grids, the interest of artists in the everyday, the processing of daily digital traces, time-lapse, and 24/7 formats. Artworks were displayed according to their affinity towards time rhythms, time words, dates, calendars, and diaries. Although the itinerary of the show was not chronological, some historical clusters emerged: for example, the importance of the pivotal year 1966 in time consideration.
Time is a singular noun, but includes a multiplicity of temporalities, including what J. T. Fraser has termed sociotemporality. In this paper, I discuss facing the urgency of time in a narrative dominated by sociotemporality, that of the Old English poem Beowulf, and suggest how criticism of the narrative structure of Beowulf has derived from a monovalent understanding of narrative time. Moreover, in recognizing sociotemporality as dominant in the organization of the poem, the modern reader can gain greater access to what was valued in the social context of its response to “the urgency of time.”
This essay explores the trope of reincarnation across the works of British author David Mitchell (b. 1969) as an alternative approach to linear temporality, whose spiralling cyclicality warns of the dangers of seeing past actions as separate from future consequences, and whose focus on human interconnection demonstrates the importance of collective, intergenerational action in the face of ecological crises. Drawing on the Buddhist philosophy of samsara, or the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, this paper identifies links between the author’s interest in reincarnation and its secular manifestation in the treatment of time in his fictions. These works draw on reincarnation in their structures and characterization as part of an ethical approach to the Anthropocene, using the temporal model of “reincarnation time” as a narrative strategy to demonstrate that a greater understanding of generational interdependence is urgently needed in order to challenge the linear “end of history” narrative of global capitalism.
Stratigraphical time, temporality and change have frequently been studied and theorized through dichotomy, that is two opposed, “either/or” views. Linear versus cyclical and the principles of uniformitarianism versus catastrophism are classic examples. This paper aims to look beyond these simple tensions. It utilizes sequence stratigraphy as a lens to re-view established dichotomies and to explore the potential for a more paradoxical “both/and” interpretation. The main finding is that the two opposed linear versus cyclical views can be reconceived as one synthesized sinusoidal view; other dichotomies are re-viewed which allow for spatiotemporal explanation and prediction.