Past Reflexions

  • William Butcher


Throughout the Voyages, there is a constant tension between the outward exploration and the inward search, between a relentless progressive movement and a determined regressive one. It would perhaps be normal if a similar tension could be found in the ‘form’ of the text, especially the tenses. The apparently unified fictional time-flow implied by the verbs may conceal more subjective modes of time. In this way the highly-recurrent linguistic signs of the tenses could perhaps in turn provide further insight into ‘the internal economy’ of the text. They may in particular prove one of the most revealing indicators of certain introverted or ‘self-reflexive’ qualities in the time and space of the collected works.


Temporal Situation Passe Simple Subjective Mode Direct Style Fictional Time 
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Notes to Chapter 8: Past Reflexions

  1. 14.
    See Maurice Grevisse, Le Bon usage (1975), § 717, and Imbs, p. 92.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    See Richard Glasser, Time in French Life and Thought (Munich: 1936, trans. C. G. Pearson, Manchester, 1972 ), p. 276.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© William Butcher 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Butcher
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BuckinghamUK

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