New release: Inderjeet Mani, "The Imagined Moment: Time, Narrative and Computation", U of Nebraska P



Time is a key aspect of narrative. It can advance a story, illuminate its role in our daily lives, and help us understand how events unfold. In this groundbreaking interdisciplinary work, Inderjeet Mani uses recent developments in linguistics and computer science to analyze the use of time in narrative form. 

The Imagined Moment outlines directions for an emerging discipline of "corpus narratology," an approach involving the computer analysis and interpretation of multimillion-word collections of narrative text. This approach, Mani explains, could alter the very foundations of narrative theory. 

Accordingly, he develops a computer representation for timelines and applies it to a variety of literary works. Among these are such classics as One Hundred Years of Solitude, "A Hunger Artist," Swann’s Way, Jealousy, Candide, and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." Along the way, Mani considers stories embedded in temporal cycles; the cognitive processes involved in the construal of events in time; the modeling of narrative progression in terms of changes in readers' evaluation of characters; the study of variations of tempo in fiction; and time in computer-mediated forms of storytelling.


Inderjeet Mani has been a visiting scholar in the Department of Computer Science at Brandeis University, and senior principal scientist at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts. He has also been a visiting fellow of the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, and an associate professor of linguistics at Georgetown University. He is the author or co-editor of several books, including "The Language of Time" and "Automatic Summarization".

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ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.