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Space and Time in Language and Literature

Editor(s): Lovorka Gruić Grmuša, Marija Brala Vukanović

Book Description

Space and time, their infiniteness and/or their limit(ation)s, their coding, conceptualization and the relationship between the two, have been intriguing people for millennia. Linguistics and literature are no exceptions in this sense. This book brings together eight essays which all deal with the expression of space and/or time in language and/or literature.
The book explores the issues of space, time and their interrelation from two different perspectives: the linguistic and the literary. The first section—Time and Space in Language—contains four papers which focus on linguistics, i.e. explore issues relative to the expression of time and space in natural languages. The topics under consideration include: typology regarding the expression of spatial information in languages around the world (Ch.1), space as expressed and conceptualized in neutral, postural and verbs of fictive motion (Ch. 2), prepositional semantics (Ch.3), aspectuality (in Tamil, Ch. 4). All articles propose innovative topics and/or approaches, crossreferring when possible between space and time. Given that all seem to propose at least some elements of “language universality” vs. “language variability”, the strong cognitivist nature of the approach (even when the paper is not written within a cognitive linguistic framework) represents a particularly strong feature of the section, with a strong appeal to experts from fields that need not necessarily be linguistic.
The second section of this volume—Space and Time in Literature—brings together four essays dealing with literary topics. Inherent in each narrative are both temporal and spatial implications because a literary text testifies of a certain time, it is from and about a certain period, as well as about a certain space, even if virtual. A particularly strong feature of these papers is that they envision space and time as complementary parameters of experience and not as conceptual opposites, following the transfer of perspective through the whole century. Departing from the late nineteenth century England’s and Croatia’s fictive spaces (Ch. 5), the topic moves via the American Southern Gothic, focusing on Faulkner from the thirties to the early sixties (Ch. 6), via the post-WWII perspectives on history, probing the postmodern context of temporality (Ch 7), to finally reach the contemporary era of post 9/11 space-time (Ch 8). The voyage from chapter five to eight is thus a journey through space and time that allows for some answers to the nature of reality (of a variety of space-times) as conceived by both the authors of these essays as well as by the authors that these essays discuss.
The main goal of the editors has been to bring together different scientific traditions which can contribute complementary concerns and methodologies to the issues under exam; from the literary and descriptive via the diachronic and typological explorations all the way to cognitive (linguistic) analyses, bordering psycholinguistics and neuroscience. One of the strengths of this volume thus lies in the diversity of perspectives articulated within it, where the agreements, but also the controversies and divergences demonstrate constant changes in society which, in turn, shapes our views of space-time/reality. All this also suggests that science and literature are not above or apart from their culture, but embedded within it, and that there exists a strong relativistic interrelation between (spatio-temporal) reality and culture. The only hope to objectively envisage any if not all of the above, is by learning how to move (our thought) through space, time or, to put it in simpler terms, how to shift perspectives.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-0567-4
ISBN-10: 1-4438-0567-X
Date of Publication: 01/06/2009
Pages / Size: 175 / A5
Price: £34.99


Marija Brala Vukanović completed her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at the Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistic, Cambridge University, U.K. She is currently Associate Professor at the English Department of the University of Rijeka, Croatia, where she teaches General Linguistics, General Semantics and Pragmatics, and Cognitive Semantics. She also teaches Translation and Interpreting at the University of Trieste, Italy. Maja Brala is the author of over twenty articles on cross-linguistic coding (prepositional and prefixal semantics), bilingualism, language and identity, and translation studies, a textbook in General Linguistics (“Understanding Language”, UniRi Academic Books), and co-editor of the journal Views and Voices. Inquiries into the English Language and Literature”.

Lovorka Gruić Grmuša is Research Assistant at the English Department of the University of Rijeka, where she teaches American Literature, Science Fiction, Postmodern Literature, and the Interpretation of the Novel. She is the author of a number of articles that have appeared in English Text Construction, Views & Voices, Fluminensia, Glasje, Novi izraz, Književni kontekst. Her main research interests comprise all aspects of temporality and postmodern American literature. Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2005/06 at the University of California, Los Angeles, she wrote her dissertation about “Temporality in American Postmodern Literature: Thomas Pynchon and Robert Coover,” and is currently working on a book project about Thomas Pynchon and his latest novel Against the Day.