Creolization and the Collective Unconscious: Locating the Originality of Art in Wilson Harris's Jonestown, The Mask of the Beggar and The Ghost of Memory.

Lorna M Burns


Alongside the essays and fiction of Édouard Glissant, Wilson Harris's writings stand as one of the most important contributions to Caribbean creolization theory. Drawing from the philosophical projects of both authors, this essay argues that while creolization has typically been cast as a process of cultural, linguistic, and racial mixing akin to hybridity, it should, rather, be understood as providing a paradigm for the shifting structural relations necessary for the generation of genuinely original forms. As such, it has great significance for imaginative and literary production, and provides a framework for my readings of Harris's novels, Jonestown (1996), The Mask of the Beggar (2003), and The Ghost of Memory (2006), which explore the creative potential of creolization as a dialogue between consciousness and, what Jung and Harris refer to as, the collective unconsciousness. This essay brings into focus Harris's use of Jungian-inspired concepts, such as archetypes and the collective unconscious, in a development of creolization theory as a imaginative response to historical trauma and the generation of originality in art.


Wilson Harris; Edouard Glissant; Creolization; Originality; Collective Unconscious; Archetypes; Jung; Jonestown; The Mask of the Beggar; The Ghost of Memory; Derek Attridge

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