Narratology is a proponent of time travel that many Victorian writers unknowingly used to propel the human network into a freeze-framed trilogy of the past, present and future; this allows us to find and utilize alternative pathways to an ultimately predetermined destiny but not a predetermined existence. According to Jan Alber, narratives do not reproduce the world exactly as we know it but use common motifs and themes to make the metaphysical and psychological connection to allow readers, Victorian, modern and postmodern, to create chronotopes (Alber, 115). A Chronotope, as defined by Gomel, is a spatial-temporal arrangement of the tell-tale text; it is a streaming continuum of the progressive ideas and literary heredity that allows spectators of our race to enumerate and pinpoint progression. "The intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature" (Gomel, 334). Unlike most narrative basal principles and archetypes such as motherhood, family and community, time travel originates in one single text in 1895. In The Time Machine, H.G.Wells invents a new chronotope with the inclusion and witness of time as an unknown-made-known archetype.
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Many narratives confront us with fantastical worlds not governed by laws that have presided over the world as we perceive and have almost nothing in common with the real world around us. Humans witnessed and were accustomed to these worlds by oral history passed down such as human origination and interaction with Greco-Roman god and goddesses as in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey' from 800-400 BC; however, this familiarization lead to a literary agent known as mimesis also known as a natural narrative. Mimesis represents a plateau, or stabilization in the graph of knowledge and understanding of historical events versus time which ultimately affects the view and predictability of future events. The movement that is characterized by the introduction of new archetypes such as Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and Wells' Time Machine was seen as unnatural. Brian Richardson defines unnatural narratives as "anti-mimetic texts that violate the parameters of traditional realism or move beyond the conventions of natural narrative." (Richardson,115).
Many of the ideas discussed in Victorian literature determine that whatever knowledge is presently known is defined as natural and good; a few of these ideas include serf-lord relationships, dichotomous sex relationships (i.e. separate spheres ideology), slavery and colonialism. Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando is an example of an unnatural narrative because it deals with what Richardson explains as a gap temporality. This "natural" gap in spatio-temporal cognition alludes to the fact that there is a natural progression in humanity documented through oral tradition and literature. Erasmus Darwin, Charles' grandfather, was a physical doctor who studied things such as vertigo (balance and unbalance) and stated:
"When a child moves round quick upon one foot, the circumjacent objects become quite indistinct, as their distance increases their apparent motions; and this great velocity confounds both their forms, and their colours, as is seen in whirling round a many coloured wheel; he then loses his usual method of balancing himself by vision, and begins to stagger, and attempts to recover himself by his muscular feelings. This staggering adds to the instability of the visible objects by giving a vibratory motion besides their rotatory one. The child then drops to the ground, and the neighbouring objects seem to continue for some seconds of time to circulate around him, and the earth under him appears to librate like a balance. In some seconds of time these sensations of a continuation of the motion of objects vanish; but if he continues turning somewhat longer, before he falls, sickness and vomiting are very liable to succeed. (Erasmus Darwin, 1794)" (Wade, 90).
This passage can be broadened and used to describe the movement of literature and events described in said literature in the sense that mimesis can be interjected as the child spinning on one foot; effectively travelling nowhere but experiencing the room in a blurred capacity and claiming that the room is changing before him when in actuality everything is the same. Until the boy, or literature, decides to open the door and leave the familiar room knowledge of what is beyond the door remains obscure. The door is one that leads to endless possibilities of the forever dynamic future and a isolated, static and definite past.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Literature relates to Darwin's theory of evolution in that there is an ability to plot succession of authors and works. From 800 BC to 150 A.D. Greek and Roman tragedians ran in the forefront; 450 to 1500 A.D. were considered the Old English and Middle English periods; 1500 - 1785 are labeled as the Renaissance and Neoclassical periods and 1750 - 1830 are the age of reason and the romantic period. My point for enumerating this timeline is to convey how the environmental changes affect cultural artistry. As stated by C. Darwin, environmental factors chooses who is most fit to "survive" and progress and this choice is facilitated by the dimension of time. Scientific discoveries during the Victorian era dramatically influenced the work of artists, musicians, theater and writing in ways that prove that time is the facilitator of space and narratology and allows us to document the progress into the future.
In this paper I plan to argue that science and literature have been coupled throughout history and the two together contour and fine tune the way we advance into our destiny as a race.
In her article, Elana Gomel proposes that the narrative of the modern novel people have become less interested in history and the concept of space and more interested in future endeavors and that the simple act of recording and narrating history produces a freeze frame of a past-present singularity making a science fiction a catalyst for its own cause. This freeze frame allows us to travel to the past mentally without encountering what Gomel calls chronoclasms. Chronoclasms, more commonly known as a time paradox, are "circular causal structures" (Gomel, 2009) that indefinitely cancel each other out such as the grandfather paradox. She also states that the post modern subject is fragmented and describes the culture as depthless.
Gomel points out that the contingent evolutionary process, as proposed by Charles Darwin in On The Origin of Species effected literature in such a way that post modern novels, such as Catch 22 , provide a spatio-temporal matrix, a continuum flowing as fluidly as water, leaving an elegant trail of emotions embedded in the constituents that can be used to show us where we came from on the Darwinian "fitness" scale. A chronotope (coined by Russian philosopher M. M. Bakhtin) governs the basis of narratives and other linguistic works such as poems and short stories.
Since time and space are utterly interdependent on one another, the human experience and perception of the world and its history are contingent upon narratives which are the maps from the past to the future. In On The Origin of Species Darwin alludes to the fact that the future is one of predictable uncertainty through evolutionary models such as "fitness" (the ability of a species to produce viable and fertile offspring) and primitive competition. I believe that this too is a type and shadow of literary works. From the beginning of the written and oral word, man has wondered about what happened before we got here. This and data is the catalyst for change (Darwinian evolution) in all matters including literature. Literature, specifically narratives, provide a point of connection between the grid lines of the inseparable pair of space and time in that narratives and the space-time continuum are all irreducible; they all provide a crucial lattice for human development and evolution. The complexities of the Victorian, modern and post modern, are necessary to make it Darwinian "fit" and are indicative of the advancement of a species. The 19th century collective idea of a natural and acceptable form of literature was undergoing a shift in thought in the human cycle; the turn of the century vibrated with music, theater, and literature such as Wuthering Heights, Les Miserable and the ideas of "pre-raphelite-ism", which was foreign to America, to American writers such as Louisa May Alcott and Mark Twain. The survival of the fittest is witnessed through the plight of writers such as Robert Browning when he couldn't break into the playwriting genre.
During the Victorian era Charles Darwin had an unwitting, unprecedented idea that spread throughout the population and what better way for humans to express how they feel than to express it in fine arts, including music, art, theater, dancing, etc, to which ultimately proves Darwin right that there is a natural progression of life. This idea enabled us to delineate society's maturation such as from the romantic period to the Victorian period and document the change. Darwin helped us move further from classicism in the sense that once in literature people were often portrayed as play things to the gods and later the human race has turned to determinism; believing that people themselves determine the outcome of the world with their everyday interactions, feeling, thoughts and perceptions.
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The Victorian era was a time of blooming change again in Darwin's cycle of advancement. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." (Darwin, 1859). There was change of social issues as well that effected styles of art and literature such as slavery abolishment, written about by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, (pre Victorian era, for one cannot truly understand what catalyzed and facilitated the movement into that era) new poor laws, child labor laws, differentiation between the classes and so on.
Determinism in this era was shifted from metaphysical and direct divine intervention writings to physical/natural events and belief that God can help. Very few assert or even mention that in many narratives, the created literary world, the characters in it, and the narrative act that produces the narrative closely correlate with real-world scripts or "story lines". Many narratives focus on a human or human-like being, be it a fully formed, four dimensional person or a singular omniscient voice, and they notify us about one or several minds experiencing change on a real world stage presented before the audience.
Many narratives are "unnatural" because they are presented at a time in the history of literary evolution that stands on a precipice and defies some of the core assumptions about narrative. Thus, fantasy worlds closely relate with the suggestion of time and space, (i.e., temporal and spatial parameters). An unnatural world contains physical or logical impossibilities that allude to how we as a race progress to a higher standard of knowledge, understanding of the world and ultimately art imitating true life. A physically impossible story world creates an unnatural situation that challenges our collective thinking about basic narratological concepts, as can be seen in narratives that move backward in time, and propel us onward in the grand scheme of evolution.
More distinctively, narratives may radically deconstruct the narrator, the traditional human character, and the minds associated with them, or they may move beyond real world ideals of time and space. This takes us to the most remote territories of conceptual possibilities. I believe that Darwin's words affected our view of the narrative literary device and Elana Gomel are part of the literary movement and journey towards wherever our minds can take use knowing that progression is one thing no man can stop. Time travel is possible in a less gratifying and glorifying but we have to wait for natural evolution and selection to take place which as we know takes place over thousands of years. The scandal of Darwinism in Victorian culture was due to its incompatibility with the biblical timeline and its idea that history is multi-directional and shaped by probabilities. Many Darwinian ideas were not fully accepted because the continuing power of differential ideals and moralities but the simple fact that the idea was rejected by the present human, Victorian, society proves his theory of progression for progression cannot be truly achieved until someone highlights a novel idea and that idea is discussed, debated and toiled over to prove it right, wrong or socially acceptable. What was rejected, essentially, was the Darwinian narrative of history as contingent upon a myriad of predictable choices and not directly through divine intervention. Instead, both late-Victorian and contemporary alternatives, the modern combinations solved the riddle of genetic and literary inhereitence, the postmodern battles over Darwin's unnatural idea that "contingency sets the basic pattern of nature"" (Gomel, 338). "Darwinism seems simple, because you do not at ï¬rst realize all that it involve but when its whole signiï¬cance dawns on you, your heart.