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How big is time? And what will the future be like?
The sheer enormity of time is a mind-bending concept - one which humans have always tried to measure and understand. Visitors to a new exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library are invited to step through a portal and journey through time, discovering how advances in science allowed authors like H.G. Wells to write about parallel universes, alternate histories and future worlds.
The exhibition explores how stories can make us into time travellers and includes H.G. Wells’s original manuscript for The Time Machine. The book, which was published in 1895, remains one of the most important stories in the science fiction and time travel genres and is on loan from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Professor Simon J. James, Head of Department of English Studies at Durham University, said: “Wells is one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, and today The Time Machine is his most widely read book. It is wonderful to be able to display the manuscript here among items from the Durham collections, in what will be a really fun, as well as informative, exhibition.”
The Time Machines exhibition unravels other stories which play with time, including some of the earliest time travel science fiction, dating from the late 19th century, and demonstrates how writers have used stories to help us make sense of time and our place within it.
Advances in scientific knowledge by the likes of Darwin and Einstein and their influence on literature are explored, as well as human beings’ unique capacity for mental time travel through memory and imagination of the future.
“Time travel stories also help us think about power, about how our understandings of time have been formed, sometimes making us question that process, or altering the terms of the future.
“Time Machines includes some exciting contemporary exhibits that highlight the part we play in time and our potential influence in shaping what comes next,” said Dr Jennifer Terry, Senior Lecturer in English at Durham University.
Time Machines – the past, the future, and how stories take us there will be on show at Palace Green Library, Durham University from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday, from 27 May to 3 September 2017. An admission charge applies, which allows two additional visits and tickets are available on the door. Discounted rates are available for groups of nine or more.
A series of events will complement the exhibition.
Full details are available at www.durham.ac.uk/palace.green