Wilson Harris Long Fiction Analysis
Wilson Harris’s novels center on his belief that polarization in any community is destructive in any form it takes, whether it is between the imperial and the colonial, the human and the natural, the physical and the spiritual, the historical and the contemporary, the mythic and the scientific, or even the living and the dead. The healthy community should be in a constant state of evolution or metamorphosis, striving to reconcile these static opposites. Artists within such communities must aspire to a unifying perception if they are to be truly creative, and their art must reflect a complementary, reconciling vision. The artist should reject, for example, the rigid conventional demarcation between past and present, corporeal and incorporeal, literal and allegorical. Time past, present, and future should be interlaced. The dead should exist side by side with the living. The literal should be indistinguishable from the metaphorical. In adhering to such ideas of fictional form, Harris produced innovative novels that some see as complex and challenging, others as obscure and idiosyncratic.
This perception of society and the artist and of the form fiction should take informs all of Harris’s novels, with gradations in emphasis, scope, and complexity. Some novels, for example, emphasize the polarization rather than the integration of a community. Some accent the allegorical rather than the realistic. Some juxtapose the living with the dead. There are shifts...
(The entire section is 5225 words.)
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