From LitWiki

Moving from events in the present to events in the past, and back to the present in a text or film. Cuddon states that flashback is “used to describe any scene or episode in a play, novel, story or poem which is inserted to show events that happened at an earlier time” (321). Flashback is also referred to as analepsis or retrospect. One use of flashback is "to fill in background information about characters and events" (Baldick 9).

According to Barnet,Berman, and Burto flashback or retrospect is "an interruption in the chronological arrangement,presenting an earlier episode than the one that has just been presented " (83). Flashback helps to connect characters, situation, and events. In some cases, this allows the narrative to make more sense. For example, in Babylon Revisited Fitzgerald uses flashback to explain why Charlie was trying to get his daughter back.

Works Cited

  • Baldick, Chris. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • Barnet, Sylan, Morton Berman, and William Burto. A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic, and Cinematic Terms. 2nd ed. Canada: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.
  • Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. 4th ed. London: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 1998.