Pluvial Time, Ocean Ontologies and the Heterochronicity of the Present

Publication Type:

Journal Article


English Studies in Africa, Volume 62, Number 1, p.28–39 (2019)



fiction, materiality, prison, rain, temporality


In this article I draw together the meteorological term denoting intense rainfall – pluviality – as a conceptual category and explore its specifically literary dimensions. I draw it together with the sea as a material domain and think through rain and sea as vectors of the oceanic and of the literary ecologies that this issue seeks to explore. I consider closely the outlines of the emerging field of the ‘oceanic humanities’ in general and analyse Lindsey Collen’s Mauritian novel Mutiny in particular. More generally, I reflect on the drawing into hermeneutic encounter of the earth sciences and literary interpretation and how and on what terms we might think in this interdisciplinary way about climate shift and a form of temporal complexity that Melody Jue has termed ‘heterochronicity’.