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Time in Fiction$
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Craig Bourne and Emily Caddick Bourne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675319

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675319.001.0001

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Fictional Duration and Motion: Discrete or Continuous?

Fictional Duration and Motion: Discrete or Continuous?

(p.136) 9 Fictional Duration and Motion: Discrete or Continuous?
Time in Fiction

Craig Bourne

Emily Caddick Bourne

Oxford University Press

The representation of duration and of motion in visual fictions is considered. A norm of duration is introduced, which leads to a characterization of what it takes to represent motion as continuous or discrete. Various examples of stop-motion animation are considered, to show that the judgement of whether continuous or discrete motion has been represented enriches the interpretative process and thus is of aesthetic as well as metaphysical importance. Consideration is then given to static images, such as paintings, and it is argued that a central principle concerning truth in fiction helps to explain the capacity of such images to represent different times. In most cases, however, static images represent their events as happening simultaneously. An explanation of this is offered in terms of a norm of simultaneity arising from the visual nature of pictorial representation.

Keywords:   duration, motion, static image, stop-motion animation, simultaneity, pictorial representation

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