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Out of the Darkness into the Darkness: Time Travel in Ernesto Sábato’s El túnel and Connie Willis’ Blackout and All Clear

Carpenter, Victoria and Halpern, Paul (2015) Out of the Darkness into the Darkness: Time Travel in Ernesto Sábato’s El túnel and Connie Willis’ Blackout and All Clear. In: Carpenter, Victoria, (ed.) Interface between Literature and Science: Cross-disciplinary Approaches to Latin American Texts. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 91-114

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Abstract

Can backward time travel change history? Can it change the present? We will show how two writers formulated a unique perspective about how time reacts to intrusion. The models created by Ernesto Sábato in 1948 and Connie Willis in 2010-11, offer a dynamic, almost-conscious view of time as an entity interested in preserving its integrity and self-consistency. We will compare this notion to the proposition advanced in physics that any loops in time must be self-consistent. The texts selected for this analysis are Ernesto Sábato’s novel El túnel and Connie Willis’s Oxford time travel duology, Blackout and All Clear. The three works we will examine here differ in their representation of time travel. The protagonists of Blackout actually travel back in time to the start of World War II and become trapped in the past; in All Clear, they are eventually rescued and no harm comes to history as we know it. The narrator/protagonist of El túnel, Juan Pablo Castel, and his victim Maria Iribarne travel back in time metaphorically, according to our interpretation. As we will see, this novel consists of two narrative layers – chronal and nonchronal; the interaction between the two is similar to time travel described in Willis’s novel, where self-consistency of time travel prevents the past from being changed.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Q Science > QC Physics
School/Department: Academic Development Directorate
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1426

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