In this Book

Time Travel
summary
This book argues that time travel fiction is a narrative "laboratory," a setting for thought experiments in which essential theoretical questions about storytelling--and, by extension, about the philosophy of temporality, history, and subjectivity--are represented in the form of literal devices and plots.Drawing on physics, philosophy, narrative theory, psychoanalysis, and film theory, the book links innovations in time travel fiction to specific shifts in the popularization of science, from evolutionary biology in the late 1800s, throughrelativity and quantum physics in the mid-20th century, to more recent "multiverse" cosmologies. Wittenberg shows how increasing awareness of new scientific models leads to surprising innovations in the literary "time machine,>" which evolves from a "vehicle" used chiefly for sociopolitical commentary into a psychological and narratological device capable of exploring with great sophistication the temporal structure and significance of subjects, viewpoints, and historical events.The book covers work by well-known time travel writers such as H. G. Wells, Edward Bellamy, Robert Heinlein, Samuel Delany, and Harlan Ellison, as well as pulp fiction writers of the 1920s through the 1940s, popular and avant-garde postwar science fiction, television shows such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek," andcurrent cinema. Literature, film, and TV are read alongside theoretical work ranging from Einstein, Schrodinger, and Stephen Hawking to Gerard Genette, David Lewis, and Gilles Deleuze. Wittenberg argues that even the most mainstream audiences of popular time travel fiction and cinema are vigorously engaged with many of the samequestions about temporality, identity, and history that concern literary theorists, media and film scholars, and philosophers.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-8
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-12
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  1. Introduction: Time Travel and the Mechanics of Narrative
  2. pp. 1-32
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  1. One: Macrological Fictions: Evolutionary Utopia and Time Travel (1887– 1905)
  2. pp. 33-46
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  1. Historical Interval I: The First Time Travel Story
  2. pp. 47-51
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  1. Two: Relativity, Psychology, Paradox: Wertenbaker to Heinlein (1923– 1941)
  2. pp. 52-78
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  1. Historic Interval II: Three Phases of Time Travel / The Time Machine
  2. pp. 79-90
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  1. Three: “The Big Time”: Multiple Worlds, Narrative Viewpoint, and Superspace
  2. pp. 91-115
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  1. Four: Paradox and Paratext: Picturing Narrative Theory
  2. pp. 116-142
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  1. Theoretical Interval: The Primacy of the Visual in Time Travel Narrative
  2. pp. 143-147
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  1. Five: Viewpoint-Over-Histories: Narrative Conservation in Star Trek
  2. pp. 148-177
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  1. Six: Oedipus Multiplex, or, The Subject as a Time Travel Film: Back to the Future
  2. pp. 178-203
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  1. Conclusion: The Last Time Travel Story
  2. pp. 205-236
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 237-275
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 277-296
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 297-306
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