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Title: Dissolving the floors of memory : perceptions of time and history in the works of Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce
Author: Hillskemper, Erik
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 0812
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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This work first investigates the apparent connections between the temporal and historical from each author’s point of view, then argues for methodological and cognitive commonalities evident among the temporal and historical perceptions of all three.  The philosophy of Henri Bergson is regarded as a prominent influence on all three authors’ perceptions of temporality, and discussion of temporality in the work of each author contrasts the Bergsonian notion of the inherent subjectivity of memory and experience with the standardised units of duration used by Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  Analysis of each author’s treatment and understanding of history focuses on the distinct methods through which each sought to relate the historical past to present experience. Chapter One outlines scientific, technological, and cultural developments which drew attention to issues of temporal and historical perception in the late Victorian and early modernist period.  Bergson receives special attention as the philosopher whose distinctions between subjective and objective renderings of time influenced Conrad, Eliot, and Joyce most strongly.   Chapter Two argues for the probability of that influence on Conrad, and goes on to discuss Conrad’s perception of temporality as expressed in Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim before reading The Secret Agent as a parody of standardised temporal systems.  Chapter Three turns to Eliot, establishing the presence of Bergsonian notions of temporality in Eliot’s early poems. The chapter challenges the common critical opinion that Eliot was no longer influenced by Bergson when writing The Waste Land.  Chapter four reviews Joyce’s familiarity with Bergson before discussing perceptions of temporality expressed in the ‘Lestrygonians’ and ‘Wandering Rocks’ episodes.  Analysis of Joyce’s perception of history relates Paul Connerton’s concept of ‘social remembering’ to Joyce’s challenging of ‘official’ historical accounts of the Phoenix Park Murders and the death of Charles Stewart Parnell.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available