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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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Identity of Fictional Times

Identity of Fictional Times

(p.176) 11 Identity of Fictional Times
Time in Fiction

Craig Bourne

Emily Caddick Bourne

Oxford University Press

How to understand the appearance of actual objects and times in fiction is shown by extending the notion of counterpart so that it can apply to times as much as to, e.g., persons. The chapter focuses on Orwell’s 1984 in exploring the notion of counterpart times, and poses what it calls the ‘paradox of fictional times’: how can a fiction set in the past be set in the future? The account given of what it is for a fiction to be set in a particular period captures uncontentious cases of fictions set in the past, and shows what it means to use locutions like ‘Once upon a time…’. It also suggests significant differences between setting a fiction in the past and setting it in the future, and it allows the paradox of fictional times to be resolved. Finally, it shows how 1984 manages to deliver an enduring message.

Keywords:   1984, counterpart time, paradox of fictional times, setting, fiction

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