Temporality in Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited

  • Bernadette ProchaskaEmail author
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 109)


Temporality in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited is germane to the understanding of the experience of Charlie Wales as he returns to Paris in search for his own honor, incorporated in his little daughter, Honoria. Nothing else matters to him now. However, Charlie cannot escape his past and in the end, he leaves the city, renamed Babylon by the author, alone. After his intense quest for Honoria, he is doomed to be alone. Fitzgerald aptly uses the word, alone, as the last word of this literature to name the doom which is the fate of Charlie. Augustine’s concept of time necessarily engages participation. He suggests that we need a medium between things and ideas. The medium must possess the qualities of both the things and the ideas and must allow the ascent from one to the other. Describing time, Augustine writes “Time is never all present at once. The past is always driven on by the future, the future always follows on the heels of the past, and both the past and the future have their beginning and their end in the eternal present. If only men’s minds could be seized and held still! They would see how eternity, in which there is neither past nor future, determines both past and future time” (Confessions, Book XI; 11261–11262) Charlie Wales participates in the time which incorporates his past, in his revisiting of Paris where he encounters two distinct phases of his identity,
  1. 1.

    His past, dissipated existence in this city of lights, where he lost his wife and child and his own moral center.

  2. 2.

    His present, allegedly responsible self, where he desperately tries to regain an innocence and a responsible control of his own experience.


Primary Texts for this examination will include

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. 1960. Babylon revisited and other stories. A scribner classic. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Mensch, James Richard. 1996. After modernity – Husserlian reflections. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.


Fourth Dimension Lost Generation Human Destiny Complete Poem Meaningful Moment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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