2LD: Anachronism (Prochronism vs. Postchronism) and Anacoluthon

An anachronism is something in a story that does not fit the story’s time period.  Etymologically, it means against time.  literarydevices.net gives three Shakespearean anachronisms: Julius Caesar referencing a clock (clocks were not invented until later in history), Hamlet claiming an alma mater that was not yet established, and Macbeth using the word “dollar” before it became a monetary unit.

civil war reenactor cell phone(How would the Civil War have been different if everyone had cell phones?)

Vulture.com listicled anachronisms in the greatest story ever toldaka TV show Mad Men.  Most, if not all, of these anachronisms are mistakes.  All of these anachronisms are of the “This wasn’t around until later in the future” variety.  This is known as a prochronism (pro = before, chronism = time).  These anachronisms are before their time, therefore they are prochronisms.

Anachronisms after their time, such as a bow and arrow being used in a modern battlefield, are postchronisms.

Traditional_Amish_buggy(The Amish are tangible postchronisms)

So, postchronisms are for the Amish and prochronisms are for Marine Expeditionary Units traveling back to Ancient Rome.  Both are anachronisms.

P.S.: check out Northeastern University Ben Schmidt’s website, where he seeks linguistic anachronisms in popular TV shows.
An anacoluthon is a “syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence; especially :  a shift in an unfinished sentence from one syntactic construction to another (as in you really ought—well, do it your own way)”.

An anacoluthon is the Greek equivalent to the Latin’s non sequitur (the plurals: anacolutha and non sequuntur).

I’d like to give an example before I…oh, I’ll just write an example now.

Bull Mountain – Book Review

Brian Panowich’s first novel Bull Mountain tells the story of a family of outlaws, their progeny, and their end.  Chronologically, it starts with Cooper and Riley Burroughs in 1949, and then there is Cooper’s son Gareth, and Gareth’s three sons Buckley, Halford, and Clayton.  All live/d on or near the Bull Mountain and all are criminals besides Clayton, the town sheriff in 2015.  However, the story is not told chronologically: Panowich expertly weaves the story so that all of the family’s 60 years worth of climaxes create a rising action only to be eclipsed by the most recent denouement.

The character Panowich gives the most vibrance is Clayton.  He is the character in a struggle of black and white morality, the character most lifelike in his greyness.  Think of Jason Bourne in the books or the movies.

How Panowich hides and unveils surprises is satisfying, however what is hidden tends to be not as exciting.  His characters rarely are given the time for anagnorisis; they, as the reader, are simply hurtled toward the turn of the page and the end of the book.

Chapter by chapter, this generational geographic reminds the reader of other similarly focused writers (James Michener, Wilbur Smith), but word by word, Panowich’s use of vernacular aims to do for twentieth-century Georgia what Mark Twain did for nineteenth-century Missouri.  Published in 2015, it’s a pleasure to read and a shame to put down.


Would recommend to a friend.

Probably won’t be rereading.

Will talk about for about a week.

Will think about for a month.

Will remember for at least a year.