Human Being as Defined by its Temporality: The Problem of Time in Salman Rushdie’s Grimus and Umberto Eco’s Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco, two of the most established authors of the contemporary novel, both design their novels as complex reflections of the contemporary environment, usually by combining elements from other fields of human cognition (e.g. science and philosophy) and from the social and political reality. In Rushdie’s first novel – Grimus – and in Eco’s latest novel – The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana – the main theme that connects these elements is the problem of time. Through the literary plot, both authors develop detailed and unique concepts of time by utilizing elements from contemporary philosophy and science (especially physics and cognitive science). In both novels, time, although in quite different contexts, is essentially connected with the human defined by his being-in-time. Only as a finite being can a human being design himself as a complete and authentic Da-sein, if we use a phrase from Heidegger’s philosophy.