**Time**is assumed thoughtlessly to be what a clock does: a rigid linear series of equal units. This was not the experience or understanding of time, certainly, in the pre-modern West, and likely not either in non-Western cultures.

As I read literary treatments in sympathy with Albert Einstein's relativity theory (again, as far as this layman understands it!) they conceive as follows.

e = mc2 (energy equals mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light) is an equation that represents

*matter as being energy at a particular speed*. For students of fiction this has as one important implication that

*the thoughts and actions of characters -- i.e. forms of*

**energy**-- have real and significant effects on the material world and on the movement of history, making the writing, reading and academic study of fictional representations of life a worthy enterprise.Of interest to our understanding certain imaginative works of fiction is the fact that Einstein's famous equation also defines Time as being

*Matter and Energy in a certain relation*. Reformulate e = mc2 as c = [root] e/m.

Reading this formula in a fictional way, then, the circumstances of the world (marriages, emigrations, etc.) as

*matter*(using "matter" in the colloquial British sense) then the depictions of Time that authors weave through narrative are to be read as having the same

**reality**as matter and energy do in our ordinary understanding

To continue with the exercise, to help understand how the "c" - speed of light - in Einstein's relativity equation relates to

*Time*, just look at it this way. ("This way" means "a literary more than a physicist way"....)

Think of

*distance*("D") as being a

*change in place*("ΔP"). And Speed in general is represented as

*velocity*("V"). And of course Time is "T". You'll remember from High-School that the formula for velocity is V = ΔP / T. (Recall that we're saying that "D" is the same as "ΔP"). If we recast this equation for Time "T", then T = ΔP / V

So, if our velocity "V" is a particular value - using Einstein's speed of light "c" - then c = ΔP / T

*and*T = ΔP /c.

Let's return to fiction! This last formulation lets us read a work such as Ethel Wilson's

*Innocent Traveller*(the traveller is the one ΔP'ing!) as showing us that the protagonist Topaz Edgeworth's travels - to Vancouver, then to ... where? - and her velocity (Wilson depicts Topaz explicitly as being nothing more than non-stop rapidity of speech!)

*are*a form of Time. Or in other words, Topaz

*did*have an effect on Time-with-a-capital-T: or, in the word the text uses at important points, on

**Eternity.**

This, then, is what Rose (Wilson's own fictional double) sets out to achieve through her narrative fiction - an eternal life for her Aunt Topaz.

Physics, Mathematics,

*&c.*experts more than encouraged to correct the forumlae.