Read Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris Free Online
Book Title: Palace of the Peacock|
The author of the book: Wilson Harris
Edition: Faber Finds
Date of issue: July 4th 2013
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 635 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.6
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I do wonder why Wilson Harris is not better known; he has been writing for over 50 years and was knighted in the 2010 honours list (that didn’t make the popular news I seem to recall). He was originally a surveyor in Guyana and his early work is very much set in the Guyanese/South American jungle. There are strong links to Hegel and Heidegger. The thesis, antithesis, synthesis model is present throughout the novel and in the way the plot is played out. Harris also rejects conventional plot, settings and particularly realism which he equates with colonialism.
In Palace of the Peacock Donne and his crew journey by boat into the interior and the rain forest, in a voyage which parallels the creation story and takes place over seven days. Donne embodies creation and destruction and using the name of the metaphysical poet was deliberate according to Harris. There are strong links with the search for El Dorado and also with Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but whilst Conrad’s Marlow embodies alienation and breakdown; Harris’s characters progress to restoration and repossession via death and the destructive cycle. I must admit I haven’t as yet thought through the contrast between Conrad’s Marlow (Christopher) and Harris’s Donne (John). The inheritance of colonialism and slavery are transformed with an alternative renewal which has everything to do with the spirit of the land and the music at the end of the book that comes with the second death of the crew. Don’t expect an easy read, but the whole story flows linguistically like the river it describes with hidden rapids and magnificent waterfalls. Harris himself says the images are convertible and speaks about the mixed metaphysic of the crew. The images are complex but with thought and careful reading the story is a magical one.
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Read information about the authorBorn in Guyana in 1921 and based in England since 1959, Wilson Harris is one of the most original novelists and critics of the twentieth century. His writings, which include poems, numerous essays and twenty-four novels, provide a passionate and unique defense of the notion of cross-culturalism as well as a visionary exploration of the interdependence between history, landscape and humanity. In 2010 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to literature.
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