DUNNE, J(ohn) W(illiam)
(1875-1949)
   UK writer and engineer, responsible for designing the first UK military aeroplane c1907. Though his two fantasies-The Jumping Lions of Borneo (1937 chap) and the more ambitious An Experiment with St George (1939) - are of some mild interest, JWD is now remembered almost exclusively for his theories about the nature of time, which he developed in order to explain his sense that dreams are often precognitive. In An Experiment with Time (1927; rev 1929; rev 1934) he began to articulate his appealing thesis that time was not a linear flow but a sort of geography, accessible to the dreaming mind. In later books, such as The Serial Universe (1934), The New Immortality (1938), Nothing Dies (1940) and the posthumous Intrusions? (1955), he ludicrously sophisticated the theory, postulating various numbered levels of Time leading by an infinite regress to God; but his early work resonated perfectly with the time-hauntedness of interbellum UK writers from E.F. BENSON to the children's author Alison Uttley (1884-1976) to - most famously - John Buchan (1875-1940), whose time-travel novel, The Gap in the Curtain (1932), is clearly argued in JWD's terms; and J.B. PRIESTLEY, whose Time Plays are indebted to JWD, and whose nonfictional Over the Long High Wall: Some Reflections and Speculations on Life, Death and Time (1972) guardedly advocates JWD's more fruitful intuitions.
   JC
   See also: DIMENSIONS; TIME TRAVEL.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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