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The Architecture of Narrative TimeThomas Mann and the Problems of Modern Narrative$
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Erica Wickerson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793274.001.0001

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(p.51) 2 Performance
The Architecture of Narrative Time

Erica Wickerson

Oxford University Press

Considering moments of theatrical and social performance in narrative is not an obvious way of shedding light on the experience of time. But this chapter suggests that it is a particularly useful theme for consideration because it involves tensions between self and other, between artifice and authenticity. Since we are all always in some sense performing and since performance always involves two distinct yet simultaneous experiences—that of the performer and that of their audience—it poses an interesting challenge for the narration of time. Mann’s The Confessions of Felix Krull, Doctor Faustus, Blood of the Walsungs, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray are compared in an exploration of the narration of simultaneity, ways in which the changing prioritization of multiple perspectives affects the overall flow of time in a given scene, and the effect on time of moments of sexual performance and performative sexuality.

Keywords:   consecutive simultaneity, stages of time, sexual performance, performative sexuality, Oscar Wilde, Erving Goffman, Judith Butler

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