Title of Project

Carpentier’s Version of Time: Back to the Ending

Researcher Information

Genevieve Macaisa

Project Type


Start Date

2011 12:00 AM

End Date

2011 12:00 AM

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Carpentier’s Version of Time: Back to the Ending

In Alejo Carpentier’s short story “Journey Back to the Source,” he used a nonlinear narrative and manipulated temporal elements to challenge the traditional view of the passage of time. Through his experimentation, he developed a new form of the narrative timeline. Carpentier’s work demonstrates that time can move in reverse, from the end to the beginning, while still moving forward. The theories of Sergei Eisenstein and Henri Bergson influenced Carpentier’s experiment and reveal the magnitude of his pushing of the boundaries. For instance, Carpentier employs a narrative strategy like Eisenstein’s cinematic montage to stitch together a timeline. Bergson’s theories of memory, duration, and personality further explain how Carpentier’s experiment challenged reality. In examining Carpentier’s construction of time, we can better understand that literature’s limits are not bound by reality and that fictional narratives can challenge the status quo.