If postmodernism glorifies the artificiality of the image, what effect does that have on the authenticity of the imagination? To counter the ways in which the imagination has been undermined, Richard Kearney traces its history, its conceptual origins and mutations. With his remarkable range of vision, he takes us on a voyage of discovery that leads from Eden to Fellini, from paradise to parody–plotting the various models of the imagination such as Hebrais, Greek, medieval, Romantic, existential, parodic and postmodern. The journey is a revelation.
Richard Kearney’s philosophical approach to the question of imagination takes into account the related disciplines of history, sociology, political economy, theology, art, and art criticism. He investigates the concepts of imagination as they appear in the Hebraic and Greek traditions and as they emerged through the medieval, modern, and postmodern periods of our cultural history. This historical inquiry gives a context to his insightful articulation of the postmodern time and the concept of a creative imagination as a passing illusion of the western humanist, consumer, capitalist culture.
He proposes the possibility of a postmodern imagination capable of preserving the functions of narrative identity and creativity – or what he calls the poetics of the possible.This includes a response to the postmodern dilemma with a reinterpretation of the role of imagination as a relationship between the self and other, a democratization of knowledge and culture, as ethically and poetically attuned to the lost narrative of historical meaning,and as inclusive, empathetic, versatile, open minded, and diversive. This book is a vital, intellegent analysis and guide for creativity, art, and imagination in our present postmodern culture.
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