It is difficult not to sound hyperbolic when describing the significance of this new book by Fredric Jameson, for it promises to reorient the theory of the novel and the practice of the genre's criticism thoroughly. The book has two parts, the first of which introduces and explores the “antinomies” of the volume's title. The second part, which is one-third of the book's length, consists of three “monographs” examining the novel form's narrative possibilities in relation to several of its “raw materials,” specifically, providence, war, and history. The three essays in part 2 may have been written before the dialectical scheme of part 1 was fully conceived, for they do not use its terms. Nevertheless, the book seems one continuous project because the whole expands and renews our formal and historical understandings of novelistic temporality.

Temporality is explicitly the central focus of...

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