A study of the modes of imagination

Marsh, Henry Edward (1999) A study of the modes of imagination. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Though this study had its origins in the consideration of children's writing and their responses to reading it explores in a wider context the nature of imagination and its relation to the discursive. Within imagination there seem to be three modes that are frequently conflated - fantasy, identification and the imagination itself. Each, however, has distinctive epistemological implications and significance for identity.

In normal discourse imagination is often conflated with fantasy. Whereas fantasy seeks to exercise power in attempting to transform the world into its own terms and imagination shares this capacity for refiguration, the one is associated with obfuscation and the other with insight.

In reading, the distinction is crucial. Generally, children are empowered by the fantasy that texts exploit or stimulate. Yet the absence of significant cognitive control constitutes a kind of blindness. Identification differs from fantasy in that the reader is drawn, say, into the world of the book - this supposes a differentiation, an escape, from the self that is merely placated in fantasy. Yet, here too, is blindness, particularly with regard to the constitutive aspects of the writing. On the other hand to teach texts through exerting cognitive control may shift the text too quickly into the discursive with the danger that students are expected to respond to experiences that they have not had.

The distinctions between identification and imagination are manifest in some of the fictions of Chaucer and Kafka where differentiation is achieved through irony. Imagination is what facilitates the sh

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Grant, Dr. Robert
Date of Award: 1999
Depositing User: Geraldine Coyle
Unique ID: glathesis:1999-944
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/944

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