Imagining Imagination !
Imagination is a curious yet confusing topic for many living humans. It can create vivid images and ideas that ﬂoat through the mind. This can be compared to dreams as well. Many dreams come from the imagination and squeeze their way through to the sleep cycle to project ludicrous images and stories that are relatable to our daily lives. Imagination and dreaming are the two subjects that coincide within the brain. In The Man Of Feeling by Javier Marías, the world of dreaming becomes a totally different world. He writes about his own dreams and the stories he creates in his sleep. The dreams he has are so detailed and arousing that it creates a sense of doubt for the person reading. The interesting thing is that it can be compared to a more psychological approach. In Dreaming By The Book by Elaine Scarry, she digs deep into how imagination and dreams can be combined, yet opposite. It discusses the topics of vivacity, solidity, and the general idea of dreams through imagination. These two works can be compared because the stories that Marías creates can be validated by Scarry’s work. Dreaming and imagination are deeply discussed and supported by both of these works. ! Imagination can be deﬁned as the faculty or action of forming new ideas. The
deﬁnition is very blunt and not very detailed. The imagination is much more that just forming new ideas, it is picturing extreme things of love and adventure. Scarry makes
valid points on this statement. She speaks of the word solidity which is deﬁned as the state of being structured. This structure has a big inﬂuence on perception. To perceive something is to get a personal understanding of something by involving the sense of touch. “Second, solidity is difﬁcult to reproduce in the imagination because it entails touch, the sense whose operation is most remote us in imagining: Thomas Hobbes argued that the imagination is exclusively visual.” (Scarry 14). This is an accurate statement because when someone is imagining something or dreaming it, it is impossible to actually feel what is happening, it can only be thought of and viewed. Imagining something is all visual because the mind is a quiet place, but only with words. The images ﬂourish and create never ending possibilities. This quote can be compared to Marías book as well. He starts describing his imagination of this women being intimate with a man. He goes so into detail that it sounds like an actual event or if he even experienced it. “Manur touches her with his right hand, which is both new and old, insistent and !soft, a touch which is recognizable as it is forgotten, which comes from a past in all other respects so similar to the present that it cannot even be viewed as the past.” (Marias 84). He describes just the sense of touching as if he knew what it felt like to touch the same women. Scarry would disagree with this part because she believes that touch is not within the imagination because touch is only meant when you can truthfully be in the present and perceive it. The experience he describes is in his own mind which makes it curious because it sounds like he’s been in that moment or situation before. That is impossible because he is describing these people of his dreams who are not supposed to be real, but maybe that is him touching the women instead of
a ﬁctional character. The imagination and solidity both are key terms within Scarry and Marias’s work. ! When literary works have the topic of dreaming and imagination, reading it might
get a little rough. To understand and author’s point of view or opinion on something, the reader must put his or herself in the author’s own shoes. It is impossible to comprehend what the author is trying to display when the reader has a wall built of his own views and opinions. When an author tries to describe his own dreams, it is just merely just the readers own personal thoughts and images he or she has constructed in the mind. Dreams are extremely personal to the dreamer and only shares the bits they remember and how they personally perceived it. In Marías’s work, he goes on and on about these exceptionally vivid dreams that are only just words on a piece of paper for some readers. He describes every little detail down to the core, yet no one will ever see for themselves what Marías was imagining. “How would Natalia Manur enter their luxury room? In the dark, her elegant Della Valle or Prada shoes dangling from two of her long, gnarled ﬁngers in order not to disturb the exhausted bankers repose, or, rather avoid answering questions?” (Marías 77). He explains this scene with such delicacy that you can have an image in your head of what he is imagining as well, but it will not be exactly the same. Scarry delivers support to this argument because she realizes that ﬁctional characters in novels or short stories have many different faces because of everyone’s different imagination. “The conscious withholding from ﬁctional persons of the conditions of their own invention means that whenever the verbal arts seem to ask us to imagine imagining, to picture the mental process of picture-making, it is only the enfeebled condition of daydreaming that we see, rather than the mechanisms of vivid imagining
we are at that very moment ourselves practicing” (Scarry 30). She makes an interesting point that backs up the argument by stating imagining someone else’s imagination, it is only a daydream. A daydream that the reader created to satisfy the mind in imagining the authors text. Every person on this world has some sort of different imagination that perceives and conceives images that no one else will ever be able to see. That is what makes Marías’s work so interesting because it is his dreams and imagination that he is trying to explain to all the strangers that read his book. Scarry supports Marías by validating the reading of the authors imagination. ! Dreams and imagination are intensely clever topics within the psychological and
literary world. Some writers can achieve the writing of the dreaming world, others cannot because it is such a complex topic that some fall ﬂat. Javier Marías’s, The Man Of Feeling has fallen in between. He displays a gorgeous work of art yet it is hard to understand what he is imagining and why. Elaine Scarry’s, Dreaming By The Book gave an interesting psychological approach to vivacity, solidity, and dreaming. She rips apart the term imagination and creates a whole new idea. This is easily compared to Marías’s work because it backs up his stories into a scientiﬁc explanation. These two works coincide with each other to create a better understanding of imagining imagination and dreams.