It may be said that, in one way or another, all novels must come to terms with the problem of time, since the novel genre has evolved traditionally as the art of time par excellence or, at least, the art of temporal mimesis. This is not merely a matter of length, although obviously by virtue of its length a novel may represent the passage of time more convincingly than, say, a sonnet or a haiku. But the epic poem is also a lengthy form, yet it cannot be said to be concerned with time in the same sense as is the traditional novel. Dealing as it does with mythic figures and events, the epic has a timeless quality which is beyond the scope of the novel as we usually know it. Even a novel such as James Joyce's Ulysses (1922), which borrows an epic framework, is still far more grounded than any epic in a particular time and place: quite specifically, the Dublin of 16 June 1904. Ulysses, in fact, also suggests another point: the span of time represented even by a lengthy novel need not be long - in this case it is barely sixteen hours. But what a sense we are given of the passing of those hours - a moment-by-moment experience of the physical presence, the sights, sounds and smells of that Dublin day. It is exactly in this that the novel has excelled as the quintessentially 'realistic' genre; it has given us as no other form has a sense of time as we all experience it in our everyday lives, not the immemorial time of gods and heroes but the ordinary quotidian time of men for whom 'time is money', the eighteenth-century merchants (and their wives) who were the first readers of modern 'realistic' novels.