Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English
Actors in The water theatre: In interview with Lindsay Clarke: Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan/ University of Social Sciences, Warsaw
Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań/ University of Social Sciences, Warsaw
Lindsay Clarke (b. 1939), a novelist whose novels show acute awareness of the literary tradition and critical traditions. His first novel, Sunday Whiteman (1987), recapitulates Clarke’s experiences as a teacher in Africa, showing conflicts within the newly liberated African countries. Far from idealising Africa, the work talks about the African belief in possession of evil and sorcery, but it also has a more serious context of corruption in politics, which according to Clarke is the aftermath of the colonial era. The novel also dramatises the tension between masculine and feminine values, the repressed and demeaned status of the latter being incarnated in the figure of an old woman who is considered a witch and left to wither in the square outside of the house occupied by the white protagonist, Austin Palmer. Haunted and repelled by the presence of the witch at a time of crisis in his own life, Palmer eventually assumes her place until, at the end, he is carried away by three women. The ambiguous ending leaves the reader to decide whether he has died or undergone a transfiguring ordeal. Clarke’s The chymical wedding, which won the Whitbread Prize for fiction, combines mythology and Christianity, showing his interest in history and mythology. The novel, based on the life of Mary Ann Atwood (née South 1817-1910), narrates two (or three if one counts the reminiscences about the Agnew family’s seventeenth-century predecessor) stories: the ill-fated...
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