The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction - Vol. 3

By John Clement Ball | Go to book overview

H

Harris, Wilson
APARNA HALPÉ

Known for his radical mythopoesis and crosscultural vision, Wilson Harris remains one of the more daring exponents of the twentieth-century experimental novel. Rooted in a disavowal of the classical unity of narrative, Harris’s work provides complex psychological explorations of the legacies of colonialism and imperialism on environment and community by foregrounding the porous, “unfinished” nature of story.

Theodore Wilson Harris was born on March 24, 1921 in New Amsterdam in what was then British Guiana. Of mixed ancestry that included a European, African, and Amerindian racial background and cultural heritage, Harris was educated at Queen’s College in Georgetown, Guyana, where he was initially exposed to the more canonical texts of the European literary tradition. Harris subsequently became a land surveyor and worked for the British government from 1942 to 1958. His experiences of the interior Guyanese landscape and topography were key influences on his writing and figure prominently in his fiction. Likewise, his engagement over extended periods of time with Amerindian peoples allowed for the absorption of their mythical systems, which Harris often uses as a counter-narrative to some of the “grand narratives” of the European literary tradition. Although Harris immigrated to England in 1959, where he continues to reside with his wife and fellow poet Margaret Harris, the Guyanese and Central American landscape, history, and myth provide a lasting source of inspiration that shapes his fictional oeuvre.

Harris began his writing career by publishing poems, critical essays, and pieces of fiction from 1945 to 1961 in Kyk-over-al, the West Indian journal founded and edited by Arthur Seymour. Before venturing into his long and distinguished career as a novelist, Harris published two volumes of poetry, Fetish (1951) and Eternity to Season (1952), under the pen name Kona Waruk. Significantly, the name invokes his early preoccupation with the role of rivers and mountains in the Guyanese imagination. The relationship between man and his environment became a unifying trope in his later fiction; Harris frequently elaborates on the symbiotic links between physical landscapes and the interior topographies of Guyanese social, cultural, and mythical systems. His early poetry anticipates several key themes and concerns that he continued to explore in his later fictional corpus. Thus, Harris’s preoccupation with revising and recalibrating classical mythology within the Caribbean context is present from the very inception of his career as a poet. Likewise, his concern with unities of man and man, man and cosmos, man and nature, and, most importantly, man and metaphor first appears in poems like “Troy” (1951). His later fiction is thus best read within the context of his early poetry.

Harris’s experimental style arose directly from a desire to move beyond the novelistic practice of his contemporaries. In his collection of essays, Tradition, the Writer and Society (1967a), Harris identifies a concern with issues surrounding identity and the sense of racial and cultural dislocation as defining characteristics of the Caribbean novel. He argues, however, that the tendency of

-1121-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editors i
  • The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literature WWW.Literatureencyclopedia.Com ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Entries vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Notes on Contributors to Volume III xv
  • Introduction to Volume III 937
  • A 942
  • B 980
  • C 995
  • D 1034
  • E 1052
  • F 1066
  • G 1094
  • H 1121
  • I 1145
  • J 1154
  • K 1167
  • L 1180
  • M 1198
  • N 1252
  • O 1270
  • P 1277
  • Q 1296
  • R 1300
  • S 1325
  • T 1365
  • U 1370
  • V 1373
  • W 1378
  • Z 1398
  • Index 1400
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 1484

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.