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From Eternity to Time

Conceptions of Time in Daniel Defoe’s Novels

Aino Mäkikalli

This study examines different conceptions of time in Daniel Defoe’s (1660-1731) novels. The temporal aspects of the novels are surveyed, taking into account the historical situation of the novel as a genre and contemporary conceptions of time. The modernisation process of the Western world serves as a wider context of the study, as present research indicates that Defoe’s novels exemplify a multilayered shift from ‘pre-modern’ Western conceptions of time to those of the modern age. The author also explores gendered time and economic and cultural values of time in Defoe’s novels. The book contributes a fresh analysis of Defoe’s novels and demonstrates the crucial relation between historical-cultural conceptions of time and the historically changing genre of the novel.
Contents: The History of Western Time-Thought: ‘Pre-Modern’ and Modern Ideas of Time – The Relation between Time and the Novel – The Reception and the Research Tradition of Defoe’s Novels – Adventure-Time, Autobiographical Time and a Cyclical Idea of History – Christian Views of Time – Chronology and Calendar Time – The Functions of the Watch and Clock-Time – Gendered Time – Time as an Economic and Cultural Value.