Ageing John Banville: from Einstein to Bergson / O Tempo em John Banville: de Einstein a Bergson

Nicholas Taylor-Collins

Resumo


Abstract: There is a clear engagement with theories of time across Banville’s oeuvre, from his earliest published work through to the twenty-first-century novels. I explore how, in their engagement with age and ageing, Banville’s characters adopt and interrogate Albert Einstein’s and Henri Bergson’s competing ideas of the present and the passage of time, sliding from favouring the former to prioritising the latter. Martin Heidegger’s conception of Dasein, a Being-toward-death, allows me to explore how Banville’s characters evoke either Einstein’s spacetime and series of nows, or Bergson’s psychologised Duration (Durée). This is borne out in Gabriel Godkin’s subverted and anti-atavistic narrative in Birchwood (1973), the battle over authenticity between Copernicus and Rheticus in Doctor Copernicus (1976), and how Hermes controls the mortals’ time and tries his best to age in The Infinities (2009). I conclude that Banville’s characters’ evolving preference for Bergsonian over Einsteinian tropes indicates an acceptance and happy engagement with the ageing process.

Resumo: Há um claro envolvimento com as teorias do tempo na obra de Banville como um todo, desde em seus primeiros livros publicados até nos romances do século XXI. Considerando os conceitos de idade e envelhecimento, exploro como os personagens de Banville adotam e interrogam as ideias concorrentes de Albert Einstein e Henri Bergson sobre o presente e a passagem do tempo, deixando de favorecer o primeiro e priorizando o segundo. A concepção de Martin Heidegger de Dasein, um Ser em direção à morte, permite-me explorar como os personagens de Banville evocam a relação espaço-tempo de Einstein e séries de “agoras”, ou a Duração psicologizada de Bergson (Durée). Isso é confirmado na narrativa subvertida e anti-atávica de Gabriel Godkin em Birchwood (1973), na batalha pela autenticidade entre Copernicus e Rheticus em Doctor Copernicus (1976), e na forma como Hermes controla o tempo dos mortais e tenta o seu melhor para envelhecer em The Infinities (2009). Concluo que a preferência crescente dos personagens de Banville pelos tropos bergsonianos e einsteinianos indica uma aceitação e um envolvimento bem-sucedido com o processo de envelhecimento.


Palavras-chave


ageing; envelhecimento; John Banville; Henri Bergson; Birchwood; Doctor Copernicus; Albert Einstein; The Infinities; temporality; temporalidade.

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Referências


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.37389/abei.v22i1.3855

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