Arkadiusz Misztal (University of Gdansk), "Playing Games with Time: Temporal Imagination, Soft Clocks, and Dreamworlds in Mason & Dixon and Bleeding Edge"

Arek Misztal
April 12, 2016
4:00PM - 5:30PM
202 Denney Hall

Date Range
Add to Calendar 2016-04-12 16:00:00 2016-04-12 17:30:00 Arkadiusz Misztal (University of Gdansk), "Playing Games with Time: Temporal Imagination, Soft Clocks, and Dreamworlds in Mason & Dixon and Bleeding Edge" This talk addresses the problematic of narrative and temporal modality in Thomas Pynchon’s fiction, by looking at the concept of “dream time” and its application in the construction of micro-worlds in Mason & Dixon (1997) and Bleeding Edge (2013).  I will argue that despite the dominance of spatial over temporal categories in these two texts, Pynchon’s counterfactual imagination--which informs and shapes these narratives--can be best understood in terms of playful and subversive sensibilities, which, among other things, seek to open up different, alternative perspectives on past, present, and future.  Focusing on oneiric subjunctivity and narrative shifts into the counterfactual mode in Pynchon’s novels, I will discuss how specific conceptions of time--such as multiple, parallel time dimensions, time travel, and temporal trespassing--within the organizational structure of the novels create narrative configurations in which apparently different temporal zones coexist and/or slide into one another.  This generative and transformative mobility of Pynchon’s imaginative thought allows for fictional re-imagination of time and space, thus countering the “temporal grid” and other temporal regimes of contemporary technological culture.  Arkadiusz Misztal is Assistant Professor in American Studies at the University of Gdańsk.  His research and teaching interests focus on contemporary American fiction, literary theory, and philosophy of time.  He has published on Paul Auster, Samuel Beckett, Don DeLillo, and Thomas Pynchon.  He is currently completing a book on time, narrative, and temporal representation in works by Thomas Pynchon. 202 Denney Hall Project Narrative projectnarrative@osu.edu America/New_York public
This talk addresses the problematic of narrative and temporal modality in Thomas Pynchon’s fiction, by looking at the concept of “dream time” and its application in the construction of micro-worlds in Mason & Dixon (1997) and Bleeding Edge (2013).  I will argue that despite the dominance of spatial over temporal categories in these two texts, Pynchon’s counterfactual imagination--which informs and shapes these narratives--can be best understood in terms of playful and subversive sensibilities, which, among other things, seek to open up different, alternative perspectives on past, present, and future.  Focusing on oneiric subjunctivity and narrative shifts into the counterfactual mode in Pynchon’s novels, I will discuss how specific conceptions of time--such as multiple, parallel time dimensions, time travel, and temporal trespassing--within the organizational structure of the novels create narrative configurations in which apparently different temporal zones coexist and/or slide into one another.  This generative and transformative mobility of Pynchon’s imaginative thought allows for fictional re-imagination of time and space, thus countering the “temporal grid” and other temporal regimes of contemporary technological culture. 
 
Arkadiusz Misztal is Assistant Professor in American Studies at the University of Gdańsk.  His research and teaching interests focus on contemporary American fiction, literary theory, and philosophy of time.  He has published on Paul Auster, Samuel Beckett, Don DeLillo, and Thomas Pynchon.  He is currently completing a book on time, narrative, and temporal representation in works by Thomas Pynchon.