The Labyrinth of Universality: Wilson Harris's Visionary Art of Fiction

Free sample

Wilson Harris, many times nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is a British writer of Guyanese origin, one of the most original novelists and critics of the twentieth century, and probably the first to use and interpret the aesthetically fruitful notion of cross-culturalism. Harris's insights into the profound symbiosis between history, culture and artistic expression were initially inspired by his encounters with Amerindians in the Guyanese rainforest interior, where he led many surveying expeditions. These encounters aroused his interest in pre-Columbian peoples, who figure prominently in many of his novels and stories. His perception of the Guyanese landscape is the source of his unique narrative rhetoric, richly metaphoric language, and philosophy of existence: i.e. the epistemological and phenomenological interrelatedness between man, animal life, and nature. The present study offers magisterial, in-depth interpretations of Harris's exhilaratingly complex and shape-shifting fictional worlds.
Read more

About the author

Hena Maes-Jelinek OBE is Professor Emerita of the University of Liege and a member of the Belgian Royal Academy. She has written extensively on Wilson Harris' work, on British and postcolonial fiction, and on postcolonial criticism inspired by Wilson Harris's concepts. With Gordon Collier and Geoffrey V. Davis she is co-general editor of the Cross/Cultures series.
Read more

Additional Information

Read more
Published on
Dec 31, 2006
Read more
Read more
Read more
Read more
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Western exploitation of other peoples is inseparable from attitudes and practices relating to other species and the extra-human environment generally. Colonial depredations turn on such terms as 'human', 'savage', 'civilised', 'natural', 'progressive', and on the legitimacies governing apprehension and control of space and landscape. Environmental impacts were reinforced, in patterns of unequal 'exchange', by the transport of animals, plants and peoples throughout the European empires, instigating widespread ecosystem change under unequal power regimes (a harbinger of today's 'globalization').This book considers these imperial 'exchanges' and charts some contemporary legacies of those inequitable imports and exports, transportations and transmutations. Sheep farming in Australia, transforming the land as it dispossessed the native inhabitants, became a symbol of (new, white) nationhood. The transportation of plants (and animals) into and across the Pacific, even where benign or nostalgic, had widespread environmental effects, despite the hopes of the acclimatisation societies involved, and, by extension, of missionary societies “planting the seeds of Christianity.” In the Caribbean, plantation slavery pushed back the “jungle” (itself an imported word) and erased the indigenous occupants – one example of the righteous, biblically justified cultivation of the wilderness. In Australia, artistic depictions of landscape, often driven by romantic and 'gothic' aesthetics, encoded contradictory settler mindsets, and literary representations of colonial Kenya mask the erasure of ecosystems. Chapters on the early twentieth century (in Canada, Kenya, and Queensland) indicate increased awareness of the value of species-preservation, conservation, and disease control. The tension between traditional and 'Euroscientific' attitudes towards conservation is revealed in attitudes towards control of the Ganges, while the urge to resource exploitation has produced critical disequilibrium in Papua New Guinea. Broader concerns centering on ecotourism and ecocriticism are treated in further essays summarising how the dominant West has alienated 'nature' from human beings through commodification in the service of capitalist 'progress'.
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.