21 April 2009

On creative impurity

In one of his books, the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk makes the following comment:

Nothing is pure . . . In the realm of the book arts, whenever a masterpiece is made, whenever a splendid picture makes my eyes water out of joy and causes a chill to run down my spine, I can be certain of the following: Two styles heretofore never brought together have come together to create something new and wondrous. (My Name is Red, p. 194)

When I read this, it certainly rang bells with me. (I would be inclined to speak of ‘hybridity’ rather than ‘impurity’, but the latter would be anachronistic for Pamuk’s character.) The books (or passages) that have had most impact on me are those that have taken two (or more) ideas or genres or spheres of life that hitherto I have not connected and fuse them together in a creative manner. One recent example would be Ursula Le Guin’s new novel, Lavinia (of which more later).

No comments: