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.
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.
Acknowledgements Introduction 1 The Myth of El Dorado in the Caribbean Novel 2 The Writer as Alchemist: The Unifying Role of the Imagination 3 Palace of the Peacock 4 The Far Journey of Oudin: A Naked Particle of Freedom 5 The Whole Armour: A Compassionate Alliance 6 The Secret Ladder: The Immaterial Constitution 7 Heartland: Between Two Worlds 8 The Eye of the Scarecrow 9 The Waiting Room: A Primordial Species of Fiction 10 Tumatumari: An Epic of Ancestors 11 Ascent to Omai 12 From The Sleepers of Roraima to The Angel at the Gate: The Novel as Painting 13 Da Silva da Silva's Cultivated Wilderness: "Inimitable Painting" 14 The Tree of the Sun and Resurrection: Faces on the Canvas 15 Carnival and Creativity 16 Carnival and J.M. Coetzee's In the Heart of the Country: Ambivalent Clio 17 The Infinite Rehearsal 18 The Four Banks of the River of Space: Unfinished Genesis 19 Carnival, The Infinite Rehearsal, and The Four Banks of the River of Space: Ulyssean Carnival of Epic Metamorphoses 20 Resurrection at Sorrow Hill: Charting the Uncapturable 21 Obscure Sorrow Hill: Seminal Ground of Endless Creation 22 "Tricksters of Heaven": Visions of Holocaust in Jonestown and Fred D'Aguiar's Bill of Rights 23 The Dark Jester: "Unimaginable Imaginer" 24 The Mask of the Beggar: Transfigurative Art 25 The Ghost of Memory: A Meditation on the Nature of Art 26 "Latent Cross-Culturalities" in Harris and Soyinka: Their Creative Alternative to Theory 27 Ut Musica Poesis 28 Writing and the Other Arts 29 Wilson Harris's Multi-Faceted and Dynamic Perception of the Imaginary 30 "Numinous Proportions": Wilson Harris's Alternative to All `Posts' Conclusion: Straight Lines and Arabesques Bibliography of Works Cited