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Relativistic Time And Space In Medieval Journeys To The Other World

Massimo Bonafin

Medieval descriptions of journeys to the Other World often contain a temporal distortion which their protagonists experience personally; their spatial movement leads them to cross a temporal border too, so that their return to the earthly space does not coincide with a return to the time which they have left; the time spent in the Other World turns out to be substantially reduced or expanded if compared to the one they spent in this world; such distortions are analogous to some of the implications of the theory of relativity. In the following pages, I set forth a working hypothesis – born alongside reading some medieval Romance texts – whereby I attempt to establish a connection between literature and science, two spheres of thought which are usually considered as quite distinct and unrelated.

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