Spatialised Time and Circular Time: A Note on Time in the Work of Gerald Murnane and Jorge-Luis Borges


The image of the journey in time characterises much of twentieth-century fiction--Joyce, Mann, Proust, Svevo and Woolf bear witness--and finds in Australian writing a fertile ground. In fact, the interplay between past and present appears to be one of the recurrent motifs among Australian poets and writers either by virtue of a preoccupation with the inner and outer landscape (White, Jolly, Wallace-Crabbe, Dessaix to name only a few) or with cultural biography and ethnicity (Castro, Mudrooroo, Lazaroo, Cappiello, for instance). The representation of time is not only the object of the story proper, but it also finds expression in the stylistic structuring of a few contemporary texts whose narrativisation of events invites a re-evaluation of temporality, especially in relation to the linearity of 'clock time'.' To this end one might consider the juxtaposition of different levels of narrative in Mark Henshaw's Out of the Line of Fire and in the recent novel Before I Wake by John Scott, to confine myself to two obvious examples.

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Published 1 October 1997 in Volume 18 No. 2. Subjects: Landscape & identity, Literary influences, Narrative structure, Narrative techniques, Pilgrimages & journeys, Place & identity, Time.

Cite as: Bartoloni, Paolo. ‘Spatialised Time and Circular Time: A Note on Time in the Work of Gerald Murnane and Jorge-Luis Borges.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, 1997, doi: 10.20314/als.bc9fdc83aa.