Abstract

David Mitchell's experimental novel, Cloud Atlas, confronts the potentially apocalyptic effects of both linear and cyclical modes of temporality. Using as a framework Micea Eliade's well-known philosophical treatise, The Myth of the Eternal Return, the essay demonstrates that Mitchell's preoccupation with cyclical temporality can be understood as a reaction against what Eliade calls "the terror of history." Cloud Atlas's characters, events, and motifs register the destructive effects of both historicist and cyclical understandings of time, culminating in its complex treatment of human clones as an embodiment of eternal return. The novel interrogates historicism through its formal experimentation.

Additional Information

ISSN
1053-1920
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-07
Open Access
No
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