An Imaginary Life
First edition (US)
|Cover artist||Bill Bachman|
|Publisher||George Braziller (US)
Chatto & Windus (UK)
|March 1978 (US)
September 1978 (UK)
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||PZ4.M25565 Im 1978 PR9619.3.M265|
Whilst there, Ovid lives with the natives, although he doesn't understand their language, and forms a bond with a wild boy who is found after having been brought up by wolves. The relationship between Ovid and the boy, at first one of protector and protected, becomes an alliance between two people in a foreign land.
Ovid comes to Tomis enculturated with a Roman world view and through his attempts at teaching the boy language is able to free himself from the constrictions of Latin and the encompassing perception of reality that is his only barrier against transcendence.
The novel is comparable to the poems of William Wordsworth in the idea of child and childhood affecting a perception of nature.[clarification needed] Ovid is continually searching for the Child and what he represents to him. He goes so far as to capture him in an attempt to learn from him, and to teach him language and conventions.
Malouf has been described as a post-colonialist author. He wrote this novel when issues with the treatment of the indigenous people of Australia was under question, and the White Australia Policy and paternalistic mentality were inherent in society. These values can be seen in An Imaginary Life, with the Child, so wild and close to nature, captured by an encultured person who wishes to teach him.
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