Abstract

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, often categorized within the genre of speculative fiction, is a work that presents the reader with a reluctant time-travelling central female protagonist and primary narrator, Claire Beauchamp. As a work of speculative fiction, key concerns pertaining to what this fictional genre's purpose is to center on the re-imagining, and even dissolution, of absolute categorizations of time, space, and gender. Outlander exemplifies this overturning and destabilization of traditional understandings of time, and Gabaldon centers this exploration on the seemingly timeless artifacts of the standing stones at Craigh na Dun. The potential of the stones and Claire to simultaneously inhabit suspended states of dissolution and reconciliation characterizes them as liminal, as defined by Victor Turner. They represent a simultaneous everything- and nothing-ness, existing in a state of synchronicity within which a multiplicity of modes of being and meaning are generated. Liminal, postmodernist, and posthumanist theory reveal how the relationship between Claire and the standing stones may be read as manifesting a temporal perpetuality that challenges the linear organizations of time and history.

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