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Title page for ETD etd-07282008-121704

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Fusco, Katherine
URN etd-07282008-121704
Title Time material: temporality, narrative, and modernity in silent film and American naturalism
Degree PhD
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cecelia Tichi Committee Co-Chair
Paul Young Committee Co-Chair
  • Modernity
  • Naturalism
  • Silent Film
  • American Literature
  • Time
Date of Defense 2008-06-19
Availability unrestricted
By examining naturalist novels and silent films from 1895 to 1915, my dissertation projects backwards out of these representational “solutions” to identify a formal and philosophical problem: time as force. I argue that the early cinema approached the problem of time as an opportunity to demonstrate its representational capabilities as a new medium. In contrast, I suggest that naturalist novels and early narrative films registered a pervasive belief in temporal determinism on the level of narration and, as a result, frequently envisioned the passage of time as a limit to authorial freedom. Using two forms that obsessively posed and answered questions about temporal representation as a lens, I argue that conceptions of time as a force pervaded technological, aesthetic, and cultural discourses in the United States at the turn of the century.
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