FORMS OF TIME AND OF THE CHRONOTOPE OF THE NOVEL. 1. “What is the significance of all these chronotopes? What is most obvious is their meaning for. Bakhtin, Mikhail. “Form of Time and Chronotope in the Novel.” The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Austin: UTP, THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY HISTORICAL NOVEL IN THE CONTEXT himself, taken from his brilliant essay “Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the.

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This paper is an attempt to apply the holistic notion of chronotope suggested by Tkme to investigating literary style as a gestalt phenomenon. Style is a complex pattern of mutually reciprocal elements, and Bakhtin’s chronotope was the first in literary analysis to link at least two elements — time and space — as complementary, i.

The suggested analysis is a tool for deepening our understanding of Vladimir Nabokov’s protagonists’ actions via the time-space matrices they are acting in. The cognitive analytical instruments of analysis are the closely related holistic notions of chronotope and conceptual metaphor. In physics and literary studies alike, the beginning of the XX century was marked by the analytical transition from atomism to holism — the theory that parts of a whole are intimately interconnected and cannot be understood without reference to the whole.

In physics, moreover, they finally noticed what had long been known in the humanities: In his “Annus Mirabilis Papers” — collection of the four papers published in the Annalen der Physik scientific magazine in —, Einstein changed the habitual views on time, space, matter and energy, and showed, in particular, that the time and position at which an event occurred depended on how the observer was moving, labeling this phenomenon ‘Relativity principle’ STACHEL, Given the lack of equations, the demand to interrelate the temporal and spatial dimensions of protagonists’ actions sounds a formidable task.

Bakhtin himself successfully used this notion for describing literary genres as typologically stable chronotopes.

Bakhtin: Forms Of Time And Chronotope In The Novel | Shirin Bismillah –

The difference between hard and soft sciences is huge, but, nonetheless, the dream of a ‘unified learning’ has been shared by many people.

Bakhtin borrowed the idea of chronotope from Einstein’s relativity theory, which was at that time a revolutionary representationi. In literature, however, we are dealing with endless re-presentations of the physical reality, which describe, explain and even predict this reality, like theory does KUHN,p. Borrowing a concept of chronotope from exact sciences was a bold move by a number of reasons.

To begin with, in physics, they are dealing with eleven chronotoppe dimensions and one time dimension, with no particular direction attributed to the latter, while Bakhtin believes that the leading element in the literary chronotope is timep.

In literature, we are dealing with three-dimensional space markers closely associated with what Lakoff et al. Second, in physics, the so-called Heisenberg uncertainty principle JHA, holds that the best we know where a particle is, the less we know how fast it is moving. In literature, the reader has to do with linguistic rather than chrootope or physical problems, i.

Third, in modern quantum electrodynamics, time and space are never viewed as the only interrelated elements — they presuppose the participation of at least one more element termed ‘instanton’: The interrelations between the three items are notoriously complex, often requiring a non-linear representation of the type of a matrix.

But even two-entry entities are next to impossible to investigate due to Bohr’s complementarity principle based on Heisenberg’s principlewhich states that objects have complementary properties that cannot be measured accurately at the same time: In literary studies, time and space are bound to be interrelated so that the reader could locate the acting protagonist — ‘a literary instanton’ — and to elucidate the logic of his actions.

Bakhtin nowhere introduces the ‘third element’ of the protagonist into his theory but this notion is, nonetheless, implied throughout his works. In an attempt to facilitate the use of the extremely, in our view, useful notion of chronotope, it is interrelated here with that of metaphor.

According to the consilience principle, which states that the basic laws have the same form in all admissible frames of reference, chronotope and metaphor can be argued to be such admissible frames of reference: Within this approach, time and space are viewed not only as metonymic based on contiguity and metaphoric based on analogy dimensions, but these dimensions themselves are seen as metonymically and metaphorically interconnected.

The concepts of metaphor and metonymy stand, as was suggested by Tynyanov and expanded by Jakobsonxhronotope the two basic aspects of language operations — production and comprehension, as well as for the two types of chronotopd operating in language at all levels — selection and combination.


In modern physics, they believe that any atomic unit might behave both as a chronotopd and a wave. In literary research, the results of purely formal text monitoring have been found to be fully congruent with those of ‘impressionist’ criticism based on emotions TARVI, This assertion explains why time and space are Uroboros concepts, which symbolize wholeness and infinity. Within a ‘time-space textual continuum’, time and space are often interchangeable: The notion of metaphor is commensurable with that of chronotope as a method of timee two items based on conceptual baihtin.

Actually, Lakoff et al. Bakhtin interrelated chronotope and metaphor in the following ambiguous way: In Bakhtin’s theoretical model, chronotope acts as a concept to which specific features are attributed and, at the same time, as a metaphor that evokes aspects of the Einstein bakhtkn. A rigorous separation between the two uses cannot be established either — one is unable to define to what extent the term aspires to generality, with its mainly propositional function, and to what extent it merely operates in a largely suggestive way of analogy.

These notions are in the same row of dual-nature phenomena as, for instance, the notion of style, the ultimate goal of the present project. Style, ‘intractable of definition’ and ‘variously understood’ TOOLAN,is a complexly structured deep-layer phenomenon of a dual nature: In interrelating chronotope and metaphor, of great importance is the problem of focalization, suggested by Genette in his Narrative Discourse In addition, however, to ‘the eye that sees’ and noovel voice that speaks’, one has also to consider here ‘the mind that maps’.

In this analysis, the choice is Nabokov’s male protagonists, who are extremely variegated but have a common denominator — they all, to a various degree, conceal their true intentions and wear masks. Nabokov himself called them ‘my harlequins’, and indeed, his protagonists are “aliens in this world,” who “see the seamy side and falseness in every situation.

In this analysis, therefore, ‘the mind that maps’ is the ‘literary instanton’ — the protagonist. Therefore, the present analysis is seeking answers to the question “How does chronotope facilitate the logic of the protagonist’s actions? A writer’s chronotope, as was shown by Bakhtin, is a unique phenomenon of his individual style.

As regards Nabokov’s chronotopes, the critical opinions on what is more important for him — time or space — differ greatly. Probably, the very formulation of the problem might be, as will be shown below, incorrect.

The suggested analytical model mostly follows the way Bakhtin tried to interrelate certain linguistic features in his analysis, centering on what he called “the chronotope of crisis or fate’s unexpected bend”p. The analytical framework comprises three stages. The first stage is filing all the chrono- and topo-markers Nabokov used in his novels, which makes it possible to see the whole picture more clearly and thus substantiate the ‘undercurrent’ feeling that arises in the course of reading.

Here thf an example of a sentence from Mary: The file entry based on this sentence is as follows:. This part of analysis is purely descriptive tome lays the foundation for the second stage, aimed at getting a generalized picture to be used for monitoring various aspects of analysis. The final stage is outside the scope of the present paper since it generalizes the major chronotopes in all Nabokov’s novels into mega-chronotopes. The goal is to see what kind of chronotopes Nabokov used in the Russian and English halves of his novelistic oeuvre, what changed as regards the chronotopes when he switched to English, as well as what changes he introduced when supervising the translation of his Russian novels into English.

If de Buffon is right to claim that ‘Style is the man’, then Nabokov’s style might be expected to gradually evolve rather than radically change. Smurov, the protagonist, commits suicide in Chapter 1, but the action, nonetheless, continues for five more chapters.

At the very end of the last chapter Smurov visits the rented room where he ‘committed suicide’, and his life as if resumes. The question researchers often ask is whether everything that happened between the ‘suicide’ in this room and his return there really happened or was a product of Smurov’s delusional mind. The chronotope details allow one to be quite certain that the latter is the case: At this moment the novels ends.

The action in this Nabokov’s penultimate novel in forma parts spans 52 years, from to Starting from Part Three, the chronotopic markers indicate that the protagonist’s disease, of which he declares in the beginning of the novel, keeps making him more and more unreliable. His second wife Annette tmie said to be two months pregnant “by the autumn of ,” but their daughter Isabel was born At the same time, the narrator says that last time he saw Isabel was in the summer ofwhen she was not yet seventeen, which implies that she was born a year later.


The protagonist’s affair with Dolly starts in mid-May and culminates in a scandal a couple of months later. The farewell letter his wife sends him is, however, dated Besides, the protagonist clearly indicates “February 15, ” as “the moment of writing” but the last event of his life described, the fatal accident, happens on “June 15,6: The chrono-frame of the seventeen chapters of the novel covers, like the ‘Holy Week’, seven days and six nights, starting on an April Sunday evening and finishing on a Saturday morning at There are other loose parallels with the Bible: April is the biblical month of Nisan; Alfyorov, Christ-like in appearance, is virtually ‘crucified’; Ganin, the main protagonist, proves to be a soulless Judah; Mary, who exists only in Ganin’s and Alfyorov’s reminiscences, appears to be the sinful Maria Magdalena; Friday, the last full day of the novel, lasts for six chapters and includes Ganin’s farewell party, an equivalent chronotoope the Last Supper, etc.

Unlike the Bible, however, there is no resurrection: In Chapter 1, Alfyorov refers to the ‘resurrection’ of the lift that stopped midway: The chronotope of the novel covers nineteen days “in the end of summer,” spent by the protagonist, Cincinnatus C.

Cincinnatus’ fruitless attempts to elucidate the date of his execution turn his personal time scale into minuscule: Finally the long-expected date of the execution was declared Chapter 17 but later postponed because “everybody was tired, didn’t get enough sleep. The city dominated by the fortress is presented in a marvelous detail, with all its gardens and streets carefully designated.


Time seems to diminish, space to grow. Neither the year nor the country is mentioned, but when Cincinnatus’ mother comes on a visit Chapter 12she rifles through a library magazine on amd table and, spotting the year of its publication “came back in ’26′”remarks that it was “such a long time ago, it’s really hard to believe it.

In several flashbacks, his happy Russian childhood and adult years in Prague and Paris are presented. Hakhtin the fact that Pnin teaches Russian gakhtin American students in his native language because his English is good for nothing, his few students adore him.

During the thirty-five years of homelessness, Pnin changed a lot of dwellings, and always could find a flaw in each, but his landlords and landladies adored him. His hime cheated on him, and had a son with another man, but her son adores Pnin.

At the end of the novel Pnin loses his job and drives away in a small car with a stray dog he picked up, but the feeling that this man will prevail is strong. This comparatively short novel is saturated with exact chrono- and topo-markers typical of a biography: Biographies, however, are normally written about successful people, while the list of Pnin’s ‘failures’ is impressively long — as he himself admits, “I haf nofing left, nofing, nofing! This book was Nabokov’s first novel in English written on the American soil.

During six long years, the writer postponed its writing, as if waiting for the outcome of the war before chronoyope final switching to English.

Bakhtin’s Chronotopic Events: Notes on Novelistic Space-Time – Fractal Ontology

The action takes place in a fictitious totalitarian state, with no year indicated, during two months — November and January.

In the first chapter out of the eighteen, the philosopher and university lecturer Adam Krug loses his wife. He is stunned with grief, and his time is as if dragging: Krug’s inability to read the clear signs of danger — his friends are arrested one by one, his neighbors disappear, etc. The chrono-markers are either exact, e.

In Chapter 17, when Krug is expecting the news about his son during an endless night, the tempo increases: The topo-markers are very detailed, and include the description of Padukgrad, Krug’s flat in Peregolm Street, Maximov’s cottage at Lake Malheur, Paduk’s palace, prison cell, etc.

In the last three chapters, simultaneously with the increase in the chrono-markers exactness, the topo-details get more general — bus, street, shop, yard. On the last night in his cell, the writer mercifully bestows madness upon Krug, and finishes the book by looking through the window, like Krug did in the nkvel chapter.

Nabokov’s last novel, The Original of Lauraremained unfinished. Before his death inNabokov asked his son Dimitry to burn it, but the novel was published as it was, in drafts and sketches. Ever since its publication, the debates if it was worth publishing keep on reemerging, with supporters of both bakutin listing their pros and cons arguments.