Imagination as emancipation

Challenging mental slavery

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  • Published 20180206
  • ISBN: 9781925603293
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

THERE IS A condition described by Maya Angelou in the first instalment of her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random House, 1969), in which a traumatised young girl retreats from the world in preference for the safety of a cultivated interiority. Hemmed in by convention and a bad experience, she relies on herself, her capacity to imagine scenes more conducive to her health. The outside world of grown-ups constitutes an abiding threat; the inside world of her own making provides safety and sustenance.

Could the same malady be applied to history? Can a person feel afflicted to such an extent by knowledge of a history of damage that the hurt of history becomes personalised, no longer a matter of another time and people but felt as real and here and now?

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About the author

Fred D’Aguiar

Fred D’Aguiar’s most recent books are the novel Children of Paradise (HarperCollins, 2014) and the poetry collection The Rose of Toulouse (Carcanet, 2013). Born...

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