HENK0390LU English - Free topic 12: Time in British Literature, 1840 to the present

Volume 2016/2017

As soon as we start reading a book, we transform it from something spatial (line after line of ink on a stack of pages) into something temporal. Books take time to read. All stories, simply by virtue of putting words after one another, structure time in the telling. And as Frank Kermode has shown, all texts are influenced by their inevitable endings.

This course reads literary works both for their narrative strategies of telling time, and for the cultural images of temporality which inform them. Our understanding of what time is has changed through history. Scientific discoveries have uncovered the vast age of the world and time’s relativity; and technologies like clocks, railways and smartphones have shifted how we live WITH time and IN time. On this course, we will read theory by Kermode, Bakhtin, Ricœur and E. P. Thompson (all made available on Absalon) and apply it to a series of novels and poems.


  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1854-55)
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway (1925)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (2005)


All novels have been ordered at the bookshop and should be available in late August.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • Total
  • 204,75