• Kristinna Frederiksen
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract

This thesis takes the aspect of time and space in a modernist novel into consideration. In order to achieve a complete understanding of a literary work of art, the meaning of temporal indicators and spatial references is essential. I have extracted these indicators from the novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, and analyzed them according to the literary theories and concepts formulated by philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin in his essay collection The Dialogic Imagination. The motivation for choosing this particular novel was that it was Joyce’s breakthrough novel, and also one of his shortest novels. The reasoning for choosing Joyce and not some other author is that I knew beforehand that he is an author who both uses direct and indirect spatial and temporal references. Since Bakhtin’s theory is extensive, I decided that a shorter novel as Joyce’s would suffice when considering the possible extent of the thesis. The decision to choose Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory was motivated by the fact that he was mainly concerned with literary works before the 20th century, which is why it is interesting to apply his theories to a novel written after his focus period. The main aim of this thesis is to apply the theory of Bakhtin’s chronotopes to Joyce’s novel. Doing so provides an unexplored approach to Joyce’s otherwise, in my opinion, overly analyzed pieces. The scope of this thesis is limited to the aforementioned concepts as well as an analysis of how and by which other scholars Bakhtin’s theories are used. The analysis also lists and describes in detail the most important of the minor and major chronotopes within the novel.













In this thesis, I examine the meaning that the combination of temporal indicators and spatial references offers: What textual meaning, intertextual connection, socio-cultural meaning, and historical understanding can a chronotope as an example provide? The chronotope being the combined indicator of both time and space in a novel. Bakhtin’s theories can benefit from being further concretized, which is why I chose an approach where I clarified his concepts taking into account other scholars’ examinations thereof, such as Nele Bemong, Peiter Borghart, and Eduard Vlasov, as well as several others.

My examination concludes the presence of several chronotopes within a modernist novel such as Joyce’s. It also reveals that a literary study benefits from an analysis focusing on a text’s chronotopes, since it provides a better and quicker understanding of the literary work than a normal plot-driven analysis would. The understanding is better as it gathers all aspects of a novel and, as a result, is more complete, and quicker as this approach gives a clearer overview of the novel structure. Furthermore, a chronotopic study enables the reader to better understand the significance of both direct, as well as indirect, spatial and temporal references. This thesis supports the use of Bakhtin’s chronotopic concept in relation to the understanding of a modernist novel, and literature in general, but also recognizes its limited application possibilities as per its level of difficulty.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date25 Sep 2014
Number of pages69
ID: 204455786