Philosophy of the imagination: time, immanence and the events that wound us in Wilson Harris’s Jonestown

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Abstract

In his fictional recreation of the People’s Temple massacre, Jonestown, Harris presents us with a protagonist who counter-actualizes the trauma that wounds him, living creatively out of the event and constructing an alternative present-future. Drawing on Deleuzian philosophy, this essay argues for a re-conceptualization of Jonestown in terms that evoke not only Deleuze’s philosophy of time and immanence but also his distinction, via Nietzsche, between active and reactive forces. By means of a character (Francisco Bone) who embraces the power of transformation, creation and difference-in-itself, Harris demonstrates the value of active forces that do not depend on external recognition or dialectical negation in order to be for a postcolonial philosophy of the imagination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174–186
JournalJournal of Postcolonial Writing
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2013

Keywords

  • Jonestown
  • Wilson Harris
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • the event
  • time
  • immanence

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