Chronographical Analysis: an Essay in Methodology

In: KronoScope

Abstract

In this essay I discuss the various ways time can be inscribed in texts below the level of explicit propositions about time. I argue that a full chronographical analysis needs to account for the dimensions of the theoretical, the practical, and the aesthetic. Taking Kant’s table of categories as a guide to the fundamental functions of chronographic determination, I propose a methodology of analysis that goes beyond the aspect of quantitative measurement, and includes typological, thetic and modal information about time. Numerous examples from various textual domains such as poetry, historiography, science and law illustrate the wide applicability of the proposed analytical categories. The full matrix of dimensions and determinative functions can be used to describe the chronographic signature of a text, which depends as much on its communicative purpose as on the technologies of calculating and describing time available to its authors.

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