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Of the real and the imaginal

[ by Charles Cameron — from sight to vision? ]


Which of these two images — the photo above, the MC Escher print below — calls you closer? Which takes you deeper?


And which draws you closer here — the MC Escher print above, or the Tenniel illustration for Alice, below? Which carries you deeper?

Where does the realistic end, and the imaginal begin?


Marina Warner writes in the introduction to her recently reviewed book, Stranger Magic:

The faculties of imagination — dream, projection, fantasy — are bound up with the faculties of reasoning and essential to making the leap beyond the known into the unknown. At one pole (myth), magic is associated with poetic truth, at another (the history of science) with inquiry and speculation. It was bound up with understanding physical forces in nature and led to technical ingenuity and discoveries. Magical thinking structures the processes of imagination, and imagining something can and sometimes must precede the fact or the act; it has shaped many features of Western civilization. But its influence has been constantly disavowed since the Enlightenment and its action and effects consequently misunderstood.


For the brilliant juxtaposition of images in the upper pair, I am grateful to http://www.giovis.com/atrani.htm, with an h/t to http://www.log24.com.

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