Centuries' Ends, Narrative Means

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This pathbreaking work uses the approaching conclusion of the second millennium as a context for discussing questions concerning temporal division and narrative continuity. It investigates assumptions about teleology and eschatology while exploring the ways in which temporal division affects the creation and production of cultural texts and, reciprocally, the ways in which narrative techniques, forms, and conventions shape, explain, and justify history. Through this exploration, the volume examines how temporal thresholds tend simultaneously to reinforce and to disrupt conceptual boundaries. The sixteen essays use the significance typically invested in historical junctures marked by a centenary advance to investigate perceived paradigm shifts and the consequent reactions to these implicit and explicit transitions. By doing so, they also seek to illuminate the relations between narrative and history, and to enhance understanding of our present historical moment.