Thursday, 12 December 2013

ABC blog: T

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T is for time. You know, “parsley, sage, rosemary and time”. A time to be born and a time to die. The time garden. A wrinkle in time. A stitch in time. Time cat. A traveller in time. The tale of time city. Bedtime for Frances. Time to get out of the bath, Shirley. I have written about them all. And some more that do not have the word “time” in the title.

I had a chapter on time displacement in my thesis, but I don't think I did anything revolutionary, just categorised time-related fantasemes. 

I wrote a book the initial title of which was “Time and archaic thought in children's literature”, but the marketing people said it wouldn't sell so it was changed to From mythic to linear: Time in children's literature. It is my favourite book, and I am a bit upset that it hasn't been noticed more because I am doing something that hasn't been done elsewhere. I look at the way time is presented in children's books, old and new, realistic and fantastic. I look at two kinds of time: chronos, the measurable time, and kairos, the mythical, sacred time, and how children's literature systematically utilises the latter to portray the condition of childhood. The idea of kairos and chronos comes from the myth and religion scholar Mircea Eliade, and it complements in a fascinating way Bakhtin's carnival, since the suspended carnivalesque time is of course kairos, but you cannot stay there forever. 


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