Time in Literature…

… and other media

He gazed sadly at the threatening sky, at the burned-out remnants of a locust-plagued summer, and suddenly saw on the twig of an acacia, as in a vision, the progress of spring, summer, fall, and winter, as if the whole of time were a frivolous interlude in the much greater spaces of eternity, a brilliant conjuring trick to produce something apparently orderly out of chaos, to establish a vantage point from which change might begin to look like a necessity.

L. Krasznahorkai, Satantango (1985)

I feel more and more as if time did not exist at all, only various spaces interlocking according to the rules of a higher form of stereometry, between which the living and the dead can move back and forth as they like.

W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz (2001)

“Say nothing, no matter what. Time is with us now.”

But people have no idea what time is. They think it’s a line, spinning out from three seconds behind them, then vanishing just as fast into the three second of fog just ahead. They can’t see that time is one spreading ring wrapped around another, outward and outward until the thinnest skin of Now depends for its being on the enormous mass of everything that has already died.

R. Powers, The Overstory (2018)

Tout cela faisait d’elle pour moi quelque chose d’entièrement différent du reste de la ville: un édifice occupant, si l’on peut dire, un espace à quatre dimensions—la quatrième étant celle du Temps,—déployant à travers les siècles son vaisseau qui, de travée en travée, de chapelle en chapelle, semblait vaincre et franchir non pas seulement quelques mètres, mais des époques successives d’où il sortirait victorieux.

M. Proust, Du côté de chez Swann (1913)

Because Father said clocks slay time. He said time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.

W. Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, because I’m Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late. ‘What about getting up after five hours sleep?’ Oh, that’s Morning Guy’s problem. That’s not my problem, I’m Night Guy. I stay up as late as I want. So you get up in the morning, the alarm rings, you’re exhausted, groggy… Oh, I hate that Night Guy! See, Night Guy always screws Morning Guy. There’s nothing Morning Guy can do. The only thing morning guy can do is try and oversleep often enough so that Day Guy loses his job, and Night Guy has no money to go out anymore.

J. Seinfeld, Seinfeld (1993)

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