Building Identity through the Fantastic in “Pkhents” and Song of Solomon
|Soviet Russia in the throes of a cultural revolution and the United States in the midst of the civil rights movement: two epicenters of change on opposite sides of the world which had, perhaps, little in common on the surface. These vastly different settings were the stage on which authors Abram Tertz and Toni Morrison emerged – two revolutionary writers whose lives never intersected. And yet, despite the different worlds where they resided, these authors shared much in common; their reverence for the literary tradition which preceded them, their critical understanding of language and writing, and most importantly, their desire to break free of the chains tightened around them by their respective societies. Tertz and Morrison, both censored in their own ways, both pressured into rigid and unyielding roles, freed themselves via their writing; Tertz, through fantastical realism, or as he termed it “phantasmagoria,” and Morrison through magical realism. To create these fantastical masterpieces, however, both authors had to fracture their identity in two, existing under both the names bestowed upon at birth and the names they created to escape from the binds of their societies. Thus, Abram Tertz and Toni Morrison were not born but created. Only via the creation of their second selves could they realize the fantastical and magical visions they imagined.
|Swarthmore College. Comparative Literature Prog.
|Swarthmore College. Dept. of Modern Languages & Literatures
|Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
|Building Identity through the Fantastic in “Pkhents” and Song of Solomon