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Journal of Literary Semantics

An International Review

Founded by Eaton, Trevor

Ed. by Toolan, Michael

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.182
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.764
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.414

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The self in time: Reversing the irreversible in Martin Amis's Time's Arrow

Adam Głaz1


Citation Information: Journal of Literary Semantics. Volume 35, Issue 2, Pages 105–122, ISSN (Online) 1613-3838, ISSN (Print) 0341-7638, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/JLS.2006.006, October 2006

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Martin Amis's novel (or novella) Time's Arrow turns back the life history of an Auschwitz doctor by beginning with his death, portrayed as awakening, and ending at the moment when he enters his mother's womb. The reversal of time has different effects on the consciousness of the protagonist and that of the narrator, although the two share the same body. The ensuing splits and mergers of personality are interpreted here in terms of the reversals of the thermodynamic and psychological time's arrows (vide the book's title). An analysis of the world of the novel couched within the framework of cognitive grammar leads one to a recognition of two narrative personas, involved in multifarious relationships with the protagonist, memory, and the flow of conceived and processing time.

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