Fredric Jameson On David Wittenberg’s “Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative”


Fredric Jameson on David Wittenberg’s Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative. One quote:

What time-travel stories demonstrate is: first, the transcendental necessity of a superspace in any narrative rendering of time; second, the fundamentally visual character of that superspace, underscored by the descriptive normality of its spacetime and the sense in which we merely occupy it like any other narrative scenery; and third, the precedence of popular, rather than experimental, narrative in positing this quasi-transcendental spacetime as a real milieu of the reader, the interworld of his or her perspective. The time-travel story literally depicts the physical conditions of ‘the Place’ where the ‘points’ from which we ‘view’ plots unfolding must be presumed to abide.

This is, then, how the structural/poststructural search for the decentred subject ended up, not with some impossible ‘death of the subject’, but rather in film theory, with the camera apparatus as that ultimate subject without subjectivity, that ultimate literal and visual embodiment of the ultimate observer of the ultimate self and of the literalisation of James’s literary ‘point of view’. The transcendental hyperspace in which such a transcendental observer finds itself is then simply the infinite regress of point of view, the nothingness on which the attempt to think time and temporality, to think the past and the present, to think the difference between my multiple selves, is founded. Temporality is then nothing but a time-travel narrative.

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