Haunting the Present Tense: Crafting Novels of Uncanny Grief
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In “Remembrance of Things Present,” David Jauss suggests that present tense is useful because “it is an effective way to convey unfamiliar disoriented states of minds. When we dream, the familiar becomes strange, the strange familiar, and time loses its normal meaning” (99-100). "Haunting the Present Tense" examines the ways that that the present tense can be used in this way to convey a state of grieving, another disorienting experience. The thesis focuses on novels that center themselves around the loss of a person or people (often, but not necessarily, through literal death), particularly those novels that also convey a sense of the uncanny or fantastical in relation to death and time and looks at the way that authors use tense to cultivate a feeling of haunting and sustained grieving, and am particularly interested in the use of present tense in creating a feeling of eternal or repeated loss, disorientation, and a kind of out-of-time-ness.
- English