Reworking Linear Time: Queer Temporalities in Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry and Art and Lies

Olu Jenzen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


The chapter offers a reading of Winterson’s novels Sexing the Cherry and Art and Lies as political texts in terms of their use of time; interrogating how these texts formulate a resistance toward (hetero) normative chronopolitics. The chapter shows how Winterson’s texts, in their examination of how we think within the confines of time and space, reveal political aspects of the construction and organization of time. This is illustrated in an analysis of Winterson’s use of the fantastical mode combined with a strategy of defamiliarization that works by colliding different discourses of time, to make the reader aware of the strangeness of time as we know it. The chapter further explores how temporal compressions and extensions in the fantastical mode enable dissident, or queer, bodies and subjectivities to be expressed and visualised through history. In reading Winterson's two novels as hybrid, queer fantastical texts the chapter demonstrates how a focus on temporal mechanisms, where pleasure is central, enables a reading of Winterson’s writing as at once playful and political, linguistic and material. Throughout the discussion the chapter also seeks to assess the relationship of narrativity to temporality and the function of the 'story' as a convention to ascertain 'imaginative control over time', arguing that Winterson’s self-reflexive engagement with the notion of what constitutes story, and the significance of stories to identity, must also be seen as an exploration of temporality in itself. By employing anti-homophobic theoretical perspectives the chapter argues that queer temporalities in Sexing the Cherry and Art and Lies mark a state of being at odds with normative temporalities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWinterson Narrating Time and Space
EditorsM. J-M Sönmez, M Özyurt Kılıç
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)1443805149
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Jeanette Winterson
  • time
  • queer theory
  • chronopolitics
  • queer temporality
  • the fantastic
  • magical realism
  • storytelling


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