Analepses, also flashbacks and flashbacks, are described in the literature as a narrative behavior and a form of the time. The analepsis is not found in all genres, but is common in the drama and is very typical of epic texts. The Analepse refers to the circumstance which is recounted retrospectively by an event which took place in the narrated history – which is regarded as the starting point of time. This often happens in the form of memories or associations of the protagonists. Such flashbacks are used in texts to provide information. Analepses can occur in different lengths: in part, they are extremely extensive; in part, only small moments are shown. Sometimes the zeitbene is also completely changed, which is typical in narrations and novels.
The term analepsis can be traced back to the Greek noun análēpsis. This can be translated with resume as well as restoration. Thus the translation refers to what is at stake here: namely, the resumption of a thing that has happened before.
The same is true with the term Flashback: this already refers to the underlying principle by the translation. The term is derived from the English and can be translated simply by means of back-sight, which is, in addition to re-use and retrospective, also the German name for the analepse.
Note: All of the above terms can be used for the described conspicuousness. In most cases, however, the term “analepses” and “flashbacks” are used for such periods of time, especially in German instruction.
To illustrate the whole, let us look at an example from the literature. For example, the following passage in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s prose narrative (1797) can be found.
Everyone, however, was waiting for the prince, who took leave of his young wife. Only a short time ago, they were already feeling the happiness of contented minds; both were of an active character, and one was glad to take part in the other inclinations and aspirations.
The Prince’s father had still experienced and used the moment when it became clear that all the members of the government were to spend their days in the same business, and that they should each succeed in their own way in the same work and work. How much this had succeeded in these days was evident when the main market was gathering […].
The prince had led his wife yesterday on horseback through the throng of the heaped goods, and showed her how the mountain country here had a happy exchange with the flat country; he knew how to draw attention to the activity of his country circle on the spot.
The above example section jumps between the times. We can here distinguish between the actual time of narration and various analepses.
The time structure of the short section, that is, the actual narrative and all analepses, can be illustrated by means of a graphic. For this purpose, a straight line is used, which stands for the period of the actual action. The previous one is dashed.
Time span of action – Analepses are not shown.
We now see that the above text is only a very small period of time. It is the description of the prince’s departure from his wife. However, the reader is shown even more by means of a rear panel.
The first analepse is thus quickly found, when it is mentioned that the two figures trusted a short time ago. This is a time leap that provides the reader with additional information, although it is, of course, very limited.
The first flashback points to the marriage of the young couple.
The text, however, provides us with two additional flashbacks in a dense sequence. Here it is pointed out that the father of the prince had already known a long time and how he acted in this – in this case, therefore, the father’s policy was dealt with, followed by a further analep, which was on the market the day before reported.
Thus there are three fade-outs in the example text, which look differently into the past. The first Analepse, which briefly and briefly tells of the marriage, lies in a near past, while the second Analepse looks much further back. The third flashback only refers to yesterday’s day, so it took place almost immediately before the story told.
The following analepses tell of the father’s policy and the day before on the market.
Note: Analepses are therefore all time jumps into the past, at any rate from the narrated point of origin of a story. ever