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postgraduate thesis: Postmodernism and time in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Cloud atlas

TitlePostmodernism and time in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Cloud atlas
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Li, H. M. [李浩婷]. (2015). Postmodernism and time in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Cloud atlas. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5677087
AbstractThis dissertation explores the multiple temporalities David Mitchell employs in one of his earlier works, Ghostwritten and one of his most popular works, Cloud Atlas. The theoretical works of Jean-François Lyotard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Henri Bergson will be the backdrop that frames my analysis of Mitchell’s postmodern novels. I argue that Mitchell does not intend to conclusively end his stories, as time has proven to be a variegated concept that assumes different forms. With an undefined timeline, Mitchell is able to utilize “clock time”, cyclical time and internal time to demonstrate how his characters react to the various temporalities. First, I align Lyotard’s loss of a meta-narrative with Mitchell’s portrayal of lost time for his characters. Next, Nietzsche’s concept of “Eternal Recurrence” is echoed in how Mitchell structures his novels in a temporal loop. Finally, I analyze how Bergson’s theory of “duration” resembles some of Mitchell’s characters’ foray into an internal consciousness that may allow them to find some form of resolution. For Mitchell, the past, present and future bear significance, as he explores how temporalities may function within his novels. By comparing and contrasting Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas, I will assert that Mitchell utilizes “clock time” to remind his characters that time is a powerful agent that continues with or without them, while external cyclical time highlights humans’ predatory nature; however, internal “psychological time” is an opportunity for characters to seek enlightenment and move towards a better future. In conclusion, I prove that Mitchell is hopeful for some of his characters’ indeterminate futures as they accept “clock time”, that recurs in a temporal loop, through experiencing an “internal time” that could potentially enlighten them.
DegreeMaster of Arts
Dept/ProgramEnglish Studies
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/223157

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLi, Hoo-ting, Miranda-
dc.contributor.author李浩婷-
dc.date.accessioned2016-02-19T23:10:05Z-
dc.date.available2016-02-19T23:10:05Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationLi, H. M. [李浩婷]. (2015). Postmodernism and time in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Cloud atlas. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5677087-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/223157-
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the multiple temporalities David Mitchell employs in one of his earlier works, Ghostwritten and one of his most popular works, Cloud Atlas. The theoretical works of Jean-François Lyotard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Henri Bergson will be the backdrop that frames my analysis of Mitchell’s postmodern novels. I argue that Mitchell does not intend to conclusively end his stories, as time has proven to be a variegated concept that assumes different forms. With an undefined timeline, Mitchell is able to utilize “clock time”, cyclical time and internal time to demonstrate how his characters react to the various temporalities. First, I align Lyotard’s loss of a meta-narrative with Mitchell’s portrayal of lost time for his characters. Next, Nietzsche’s concept of “Eternal Recurrence” is echoed in how Mitchell structures his novels in a temporal loop. Finally, I analyze how Bergson’s theory of “duration” resembles some of Mitchell’s characters’ foray into an internal consciousness that may allow them to find some form of resolution. For Mitchell, the past, present and future bear significance, as he explores how temporalities may function within his novels. By comparing and contrasting Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas, I will assert that Mitchell utilizes “clock time” to remind his characters that time is a powerful agent that continues with or without them, while external cyclical time highlights humans’ predatory nature; however, internal “psychological time” is an opportunity for characters to seek enlightenment and move towards a better future. In conclusion, I prove that Mitchell is hopeful for some of his characters’ indeterminate futures as they accept “clock time”, that recurs in a temporal loop, through experiencing an “internal time” that could potentially enlighten them.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.titlePostmodernism and time in David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Cloud atlas-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5677087-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Arts-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish Studies-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5677087-

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