What is the literary term where the plot goes ahead in time? It is not foreshadowing or flashforward. It is the opposite of flashback?

1 Answer
Apr 19, 2018

The literary term is prolepsis.


Prolepsis, more commonly called flash-forward, is used in literature to interrupt the flow of the story, and jolt action forward in time. It shows events that will happen in the future.

I've noticed that it is found in a lot of biographies, where the author will talk about their subject's childhood and flash-forward to their subject's adulthood.

Here is an example from Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London about author Charles Dickens:

  • "Lying awake at night, he must have wondered how so much bad could have happened to his family. He was lonely and forlorn... He could never ever have imagined that one day he would be the most famous writer in the world, that he would own the beautiful Gads Hill house near Rochester, and that several of the streets that he now walked to get to prison would be named for fictional characters that he would bring to life in his books."

It can also be found in literature, as an interesting literary device. In Charles Dicken's own A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is taken forward in time to see his future.