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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

Symbols and Motifs

Symbols and Motifs

(p.91) 3 Symbols and Motifs
The Architecture of Narrative Time

Erica Wickerson

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes a broader approach to the analysis of subjective temporal experience. It explores the ways in which particular images that have symbolic value or motifs that gain additional significance through their repetition further the sense of temporal movement across a text. The analysis focuses on Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, Tonio Kröger, and includes a comparative analysis with Theodor Storm’s Immensee, which served as an inspiration for Mann. It builds on Genette’s terminology to suggest that there is a difference between shifts in temporal perspective and shifts in temporal location, both of which, it is argued, can be prompted by or encapsulated through symbolic images. The chapter also proposes the concept of ‘meta-muthos’ whereby a single image may contain the overall plot structure of a narrative in miniature and thereby have multidirectional temporal power, which complicates the reader’s sense of narrative time.

Keywords:   Gérard Genette, analepsis, prolespsis, leitmotifs, Theodor Storm, meta-muthos, Ricoeur, multiple times, multiple perspectives

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