Theme Of An Imaginary Life

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The author suggests that all his writing is an attempt to achieve that state of perfect correspondence, ‘against the whole of our cultural history’ (Kavanagh 1986 p. 253). Malouf points out in the same interview that Western culture considers a mature point of view as being the point at which a person is most aware of himself/herself in a hard and clear way, separate from the rest of creation, and therefore having power over it. Through an attentive choice of words and use of language devoid of mere communication purposes, Malouf attempts to rehabilitate the primeval magical function of language. He individuates in art, the task of the restorer of the magic correspondence of language.
Coming back to the novel, Malouf’s character, Ovid, lives on the edge. Malouf has taken the idea of the edge much further than anybody else; it is perhaps not too inappropriate a paradox of language to say that the edge is at the centre of his work. But he would probably never have developed it as such a central theme if he had not been born in Australia. In an interview, to Julie Copeland, he elaborated on the suggestion that An Imaginary Life could only have been written by an Australian by saying that the polarity between the centre and the edge (Rome and the hinterlands, Europe and Australia) ‘really only exists for those who are at the edge; the people at the centre just think of the centre’.15 For Ovid- the exiled Augustan poet in Malouf’s novel, “the problem of being” is a
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Even as late as in 1817 this new land was to Reverend Sydney Smith “this remote part of the Earth” (ibid p. 9). Similarly Ovid’s idea, in An Imaginary Life18 about his place of exile was again not very encouraging, when referring to it he says that “We are at the end of the earth” (An Imaginary Life, p.
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