Clocks, horses, trains: the aural space-time complex in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries
This essay considers time’s relationship with space in the experience of sound, as depicted in a range of texts from 1875-1948. Though some of these texts view time and space as incommensurable―most notably, Henri Bergson’s Time and Free Will, whose criticism of “spatialised” time is a touchstone throughout the essay―the majority consider the two categories as cognate, and as pragmatically, if not ontologically inseparable. Each of the three objects named in the essay’s title appear as yielding knowledge, though of a kind dependent on what Bergson (in his early work at least) considers, paradoxically, to be founded upon misperception. Aside from Bergson himself, the essay considers fiction by Faulkner, Proust, Patrick Hamilton, and Olaf Stapledon; poetry by Wallace Stevens; the psychology of William James; the physiology of John Hughlings Jackson; and the musical aesthetics of Edmund Gurney and Vernon Lee.
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