Chronotope (181 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Simon Dentith (University of Reading)


A term taken over by Mikhail Bakhtin from 1920s science to describe the manner in which literature represents time and space. In different kinds of writing there are differing chronotopes, by which changing historical conceptions of time and space are realised. Thus the ancient Greek novel is dominated by “adventure time”, in which the adventures of hero and heroine occur but which has no developmental impact upon their characters; like the space in which their adventures happen, it is effectively empty. By contrast, the time and space of the chivalric romance, though it retains elements of this adventure time, is dominated by the irruptions of the miraculous, which manifest themselves in narrative terms by the presence of “…

Dentith, Simon. "Chronotope". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2001
[, accessed 24 October 2016.]