This essay considers the novel as a model of time, specifically as a model for a moving now or nunc movens conception of time. It examines a range of problems with this conception of the novel and argues that the problems themselves are where the interest lies: in the difference in the status of the future between a novel and lived experience and in the process of actively making present the events of a novel referred to in retrospect. The essay offers a hermeneutic circle between presentification and depresentification as an account of the relationship between the time of a novel and the time of life and argues that it is the existence of the future in a written narrative that is the most significant aspect of this circle. The already-there-ness of the future in written narrative, it is argued, gives to the concepts of anticipation and prolepsis a new importance for the understanding of the novel as a temporal structure.

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