Time and narration in Clarín’s La Regenta
Keywords:Spanish naturalism, time, narratology, Leopoldo Alas Clarín, La Regenta
This paper focuses on the ambiguous concept of time in the novel La Regenta (1884–1885), by Leopoldo Alas Clarín. Time influences the sequence of events in narrative text and materializes through narrative discourse. It can be argued that time relates at once to the spatial and historical dimensions more than it does just to temporal dimension in a narrow sense. Therefore, time and narration in novel can be characterized as pseudo-temporal. The concept of time in this novel of Clarín’s can be seen from two basic perspectives: the linguistic time of narration which is present on the level of language, and figurative time, related to the illusion of time created through narrative text (story time and discourse time). Story time usually involves three methods: retrospection, anticipation and inversion. This paper also considers syntactic aspects of the category of time: the order, sequence and duration of narration. When it comes to the structure of this novel, two parts can be singled out. These parts have almost equal scopes that match with the original version of the novel, which was divided into two parts. The first part is static and expositive and has only a three day time span (chapters I–XV). The second part is dynamic and spans three years (chapters XVI–XXX). The structural and temporal features of the narration help us to identify the cyclic structure of the novel more easily – time has passed and nothing has changed. Vetusta, the static place, has caused one human tragedy. That way, Clarín strategically plays with the concept of time, turning his characters into inanimate beings that after a spiritual fight stay inert and petrified.
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