Minding the Gap: Time in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and the Hermeneutical Inquiry
Peoples, Timothy Andrew John
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I begin this thesis with a discussion of Neil Gaiman’s career and my interaction with his first novel, Neverwhere. I define time in the novel as the succession and interrelatedness of events and divide this definition into two perceptions: immediacy and graduality. I apply the former to the novel’s separate worlds, which are called London Above and London Below. London Above, in the perception of Richard Mayhew, the main character, favors immediacy and rejects graduality. Though his perception is incomplete, the nature of London Above makes him unsuitable for life there. London Below, on the other hand, exhibits both perceptions. Graduality’s influence on the two worlds shows a departure from Western conceptions of time that makes London Above and London Below a symbiotic that cannot be unified. This symbiosis can be allegorized as the hermeneutical gap. After examining similar concepts in Gaiman’s Stardust and American Gods, I conclude that Gaiman’s writing states that the permanently separated hermeneutical gap allows humanity to reflect upon itself.