2017-18 AM Time Travel: The 'Chronology Paradox' in 19C and 20C Literature

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  • NEW Time: Tue, 14:00-16:00
  • NEW Venue: A6 0-001
  • Course: 3.02.151
  • Lecturer: Anna Auguscik
  • Modul: ang615 Motifs - Themes - Issues (and their Media)
  • Course Description:

How do literary texts reconcile the “central obstacle[s]” in physical science with “the temporal freedom of narrative time” (James and Bauer 2017)? In this course, we will explore the possibilities of (literary) time travel in two parts. At first, we will learn about the theory of time travel based, on the one hand, on classic SF stories from 20C writers from both sides of the Atlantic, such as Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. LeGuin, and, on the other, on scientific and scholarly papers about the science and philosophy of time, chronology, causality and the paradoxes involved in digressions from and variations of these concepts. In the second part of our course, we will go back in time to read two 19C examples of time travel: H.G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895) and Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (1843). In addition, students will be asked to get acquainted with time travel texts included in The Time Traveler's Almanac (eds. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, 2013) and become experts on one of these.

PLEASE NOTE: All primary materials will be made available at the CvO bookshop.

  • Additional materials for preparation, as well as the detailed syllabus, will be made available here and/or on Stud.IP. There will be a Handapparat in our library.
  • Course Requirements
  • Requirements for 6 KP: regular attendance and a (oral/)written contribution in the form of either a presentation + written outline (10-12 pp) or seminar paper (15 pp), with based on the topic of the seminar.
  • As part of the "Aktive Teilnahme" regulation:
    Die aktive Teilnahme besteht aus folgenden Komponenten
    - regelmäßige Anwesenheit: max. 3 Abwesenheiten und gegebenenfalls Nacharbeit
    - Vor- und Nachbereitung des Seminarstoffs (Expertengruppen, Vorbereitung/Lektüre von Texten) 
    - Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Fragestellung aus dem Problembereich des Seminars, durch:
      *Übernahme von Ergebnispräsentationen (Gruppenarbeit) und 
      *(falls HA schriftlich, falls P+Ausarbeitung mündlich als Teil der Präsentation)
       Entwicklung einer Research Paper Outline im Laufe des Semesters: 
       Wahl eines Themenbereichs (bis letzte Sitzung vor Weihnachten),
       Abstract mit Fragestellung inkl. Forschungsbibliographie (RPO) (bis 26.Jan), 
       Vorstellung der Fragestellung (letzte Semestersitzung).

Session 1: 17.10.2017

  • Course syllabus, requirements, etc.
  • Introduction: "time travel" and its discursive settings

Session 2: 24.10.2017

  • VanderMeer and VanderMeer, The Time Traveler's Almanac (2014)
  • Reading and Group Work

Session 3: 31.10.2017 - REFORMATIONSTAG

Session 4: 07.11.2017

  • Robert A. Heinlein, "All You Zombies" (1959)
  • Robert A. Heinlein, "By His Bootstraps" (1941)
  • Textual Analysis and Close Reading

Session 5: 14.11.2017

  • Presentation: Time Travel Paradoxes
  • Secondary Reading: Lewis, "The Paradoxes of Time Travel" (1976)
  • Presentation: Time Travel and Narrative
  • Secondary Reading: Slusser and Chatelelain, "Spacetime Geometries" (1995)
  • Further Reading: Wittenberg (2013), Ricoeur (1980)

Session 6: 21.11.2017

  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
  • Textual Analysis and Close Reading

Session 7: 28.11.2017

  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
  • The many versions of The Time Machine
  • Secondary Reading: Stephen Arata, "A Note on the Text" in the Norton edition (ix-x)
  • Further Reading: Bergonzi, "The Time Machine: An Ironic Myth" (1976)

Session 8: 05.12.2017

  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)
  • The Time Machine in cultural context
  • Secondary Reading: Gomel, "Shapes of the Past and the Future: Darwin and the Narratology of Time Travel" (2009)

Session 9: 12.12.2017

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
  • Textual Analysis and Close Reading

Session 10: 19.12.2017

  • Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
  • Presentation: Ghosts and other means of time travel prior to The Time Machine
  • Secondary Reading: "time travel" in the online Encyclopaedia of SF: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/time_travel
  • Further Reading: chapter two from James Gleick, Time Travel: A History (2016; cf. 'Handapparat'); Jesse Matz, "The Art of Time, Theory to Practice" (2011)

Session 11: 09.01.2018

  • VanderMeer and VanderMeer, The Time Traveler's Almanac (2014)
  • Presentation: Time Travel and/as Genre
  • Reading: VanderMeer and VanderMeer, "Introduction", The Time Traveler's Almanac (2014)

Session 12: 16.01.2018

  • Ray Bradbury, "A Sound of Thunder" [1952] in: VanderMeer and VanderMeer, The Time Traveler's Almanac (2014)
  • Presentation: The Butterfly Effect in Time Travel Fiction: Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder"
  • Further Reading:

Session 13: 23.01.2018

  • Workshop with Alena Cicholewski on "Moral Dimensions of Time Travel in A Christmas Carol (1843) and Octavia E. Butler's Kindred (1979)"
  • Final Discussion
  • evaluation
  [Hand in RPOs until 26 January at the latest]

Session 14: 30.01.2018

  • discussion of RPOs
  • feedback on evaluation
  [Hand in research papers until 15 March]



Further Reading

  • Lewis, David. (1976) "The Paradoxes of Time Travel." American Philosophical Quarterly (Apr): 145-152.
  • Genette, Gérard.(1980) Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Translated by Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell UP.
  • Ricoeur, Paul. (1980) "Narrative Time." Critical Inquiry 7.1 (Autumn, Spec. Issue "On Narrative"): 169-190.
  • Bakhtin, Mikhail. (1981) "Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel." The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: U of Texas P. 84–258.
  • Slusser, George, and Danièle Chatelelain. (1995) "Spacetime Geometries: Time Travel and the Modern Geometrical Narrative." Science Fiction Studies 22.2 (Jul): 161-186.
  • Gomel, Elana. (2009) "Shapes of the Past and the Future: Darwin and the Narratology of Time Travel." Narrative 17.3 (Oct): 334-352.
  • Matz, Jesse. (2011) "The Art of Time, Theory to Practice." Narrative 19.3 (Oct): 283-294.
  • Wittenberg, David. (2013) Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative. New York: Fordham UP.
  • Gleick, James. (2016) Time Travel: A History New York: Pantheon.