Imagining a geometry of the soul

Název: Imagining a geometry of the soul
Autor: Hale, Amanda
Zdrojový dokument: Brno studies in English. 2010, roč. 36, č. 2, s. [61]-79
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Článek
Licence: Neurčená licence

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My essay tracks a process whereby, through the interplay of questing and creative activity in my own life I have discovered what I can only call an inner geometry – a kind of constellation of the soul – which mirrors the outer universe. I begin by establishing a sense of time and place, then move back through memory to enduring images which have echoed, or to which I have been magnetized, throughout my life. The significance of family stories is explored – stories filtered through the magical thinking of childhood, and which later seem impossible to verify. The dynamic between fact and fiction, biography and autobiography, and the mixing and weaving of these genres, is examined throughout, exemplified in part by the works of Franz Kafka, W. G. Sebald, and Primo Levi. The roles of imagination and of research are discussed in the context of my own novels, and of travel seen as soul retrieval journeys to places of irresistible inspiration. A contrast between the virtual and the actual runs through the essay, ultimately suggesting a paradoxical and irreconcilable universe fraught with bewildering concepts which crumble in the face of human experience, and recognized partly as a legacy of World War II, and partly as a consequence of the manifestation of technology in everyday life. The concept of a "geometry of the soul" is discussed, suggesting a dual process of soul-making and soul-guidance as a collaboration between the temporal self and an enduring part of the self. (For the technologically minded, soul-guidance can equally be seen as a GPS [global positioning system], plugged into one's car). The historical span of the essay runs from the European Renaissance, focusing primarily on the post WWII period, in which I grew up, with its increasingly rapid rate of change. The nascent 21st century is revealed as a time of intense inquiry wherein the mixing of literary genres mirrors a global dialectic which struggles eternally towards the ideal of unification.
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