Tale-a-day, today. A database of imagined time
Diconodioggi.it that could be translated as “they say of today”, is an editorial project based on a huge database of quotations about dates in fiction. A first paper version of this anthology has been published in 1994 by Giunti (Florence), titled Il gioco dei giorni narrati, edited by Toni A. Brizi (Antonella Sbrilli’s alias). Reviewed by Umberto Eco, the anthology became a radio program (Isoradio Rai) and a project of a daily TV program (I Librivori Videomusic Tv). In 1998 it was presented (with the title Tale-a-Day. A map of virtual time) at the Tenth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Time (Tutzing, Germany).
Now it makes its appearance on the social networks, first Twitter and Facebook, then this blog, aiming to engage and involve people interested in reading, in time, in fiction; to create a community of active readers; to cooperate with publishers, libraries, distributors of fiction in any format.
Beside calendar time, an imagined time exists, invented by writers. Immaterial days flow in worldwide tales and novels and overlap real time, crossing it in some points. Either the tale is a historical one, or not, the day to which it refers belong to a hybrid kind of time.
Enclosed in a fictional universe, where the traditional categories of experience are recreated by language, this kind of time drives to a different perception of itself. The days are isolated by what seems the continuum and acquire a special meaning.
One could wonder which reason inspired the writer to choose that date or another: the desire to celebrate a specific date, significant in the artist’s experience, the necessity of numeric symmetries in composition, the imagination of a single day, anonymous an irreversible.
Anyway, a chrononyme is not only a conventional choice, but a symbolic one, which can enlighten the style of an author and even a cultural period.
As a matter of fact, the are some differences in the choice of dates between the great novels of 18th anD 19th C., and the short stories or experimental tales of 20th C.: new features are expected in hypertextual fiction, due to the use of computer, with its inner clock.
For each day of conventional calendar, we can find a related novel or tale. So, for example, the 1st of January is Lolita’s birthday in Nabokov’s novel; in the famous Karen Blixen’s tale, Babette’s Feast takes place on December 15th; Picnic at Hanging Rock, the tale by Australian Joan Lindsay, is deeply placed in a panic day of Southern summer, February 14th, Valentine’s Day. And so on, for every day of the year, the 29th February included.