The Urban Chronotope in Peter Ackroyd’s Fiction
Chapter 4. Coincidentia Oppositorum, or the Unity of the Opposites
Coincidentia Oppositorum, or the Unity of the Opposites
I lack a sense of place.
Peter Ackroyd,The Plato Papers
Ackroyd’s novels analysed in the chapter are mirror narratives that delineate the physical and symbolical recovery of the past as an urban myth. The Plato Papers (1999) is a radical fast-forward narrative into 3705 AD in which the eponymous protagonist analyses the archaeological findings of ancient London. Heinrich Obermann, a 19th-century researcher in The Fall of Troy (2006), is working on an excavation site in Hissarlik, Turkey, believing it to be the ruins of Homer’s Troy. The two men share the obsession with exhuming the past in an attempt to retrieve the Eternal City: Plato seeks to reconstruct London (referred to in the text as “New Troy” ) from various archaeological scraps, while Obermann strives to remodel the research site in Hissarlik through Homeric mythology.
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