“Wilson Harris’s Imaginative Strategies for Dissolving Boundaries.”



Year of publication 2014
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Can creative imagination inscribed into a work of art help to overcome the artificial imposition of boundary lines we perceive within as well as without our culture? Wilson Harris manages to employ creativity of imagination to transgress boundaries culturally forced upon the perception of the reader. In the context of postcolonial studies debate the boundaries that are mostly felt to be in need of transgression are those imposed on our perception and understanding of reality by the hegemonic influence of Western education, media as well as dominant theoretical approaches applied on the study of communities and art. Such boundaries are strongly linked to the culturally promoted ascription of a value to characteristics that are presented as not only antithetic, but moreover qualitative (race, gender, faith…). Harris manages to intertwine several cultural traditions (Ancient Mexican and Greek, Amerindian, African, Indian, European) to create a fluid, ever-changing image of the time-space. His fiction employs philosophical ideas and juxtaposes them with theories of quantum physics as well as alchemy or hydrogeology. The divides between reality and dream, science and imagination, history and myth lose their applicability as all these sources are shown to possess equally valid bases of individual as well as communal identity. By presenting the traditionally perceived boundaries and revealing their weaknesses and fallibility, Harris presents us with new possible ways of perception and understanding that could lead towards greater understanding between different communities and cultures.
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