Summary Of Time And The Conways And A Dream Play

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Time and the Conways (1937) and A Dream Play (1901) play with the idea of time as nonlinear. Influenced by John William Dunne, Priestley begins to investigate his own conception of time as the past, present, and future all happening at once. Strindberg, although he wrote A Dream Play ahead of Dunne and Priestley, also expounds on similar ideas linking time and dreams. Dreams can free us from viewing time’s structure as fixed and linear. Therefore, both playwrights begin to make theatre audiences aware of new ideas about how to perceive time and the use of dreams/precognitive states. Utilizing Dunne’s basic theory of non-linear time, I will talk about how we can apply this to readings of Time and the Conways and A Dream Play to explore themes of dreams and perception of time.
Most notable to J.B. Priestley, who was heavily influenced by this work, was John William Dunne’s “An Experiment with Time”. In Dunne’s work, he talks about that all time is happening at once so that every moment is proceeding right now. However, humans experience time in linear fashion. To comprehend time, we must clearly separate past, present, and future. Dunne also explores the theory that only when we dream, time is no longer limited to linear concrete interpretation that we experience in our waking hours. The idea of nonlinear time in dreams relates to Strindberg’s A Dream Play and some sections of Time and the Conways. However, Dunne was not taken seriously by his contemporaries due to his lack

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