All terms

What is an anachronism?

Something that is out of place or time period.

Out of Time and Context: An Exploration of Anachronism in Creative Writing

Anachronism, commonly encountered in literature and film, refers to a thing or concept that is out of place or time period relative to a particular scene or context. It can be a deliberate device employed by writers to draw attention to a particular theme or a subtle undermining of the surface continuity of a narrative.

For writers, the artistic use of anachronism - whether through word choice, narrative framing, or other creative techniques - is an opportunity to break with the usual constraints of time and place, creating a work that mirrors life itself, always fluid and unbounded by rigid parameters of past, present, or future.

Out of Time and Place: Anachronism in Literature

Anachronism has long been employed by writers in literature, using it as a tool to draw connections to the past and comment on the present in unique ways.

'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare

In 'The Tempest', Shakespeare uses anachronism by placing the character of Caliban in a world where he speaks an ancient language and is associated with witchcraft - placing him in a time period that is centuries before the colonial setting of the play.

'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald

'The Great Gatsby' includes anachronisms such as naming specific songs that weren't recorded until after the time period in which the novel is set. This blends time periods and adds a layer of nostalgia to the story.