where the writers are
PhD Dissertation Submitted.

Excerpt from said dissertation:

"As we have seen, the consummation of history and imagination (or memory and invention) has given birth to a literature called 'liminal' that both legitimizes and necessitates a liminal approach to the study of it. This is a new perspective within an established literary philosophy (insofar as such a young methodology can be said to be established) – not simply the analysis of marginal literature or margins in literature, but a philosophy that seeks to validate the limen as a place, a literary hinterland, not unlike the worlds in Einstein’s Dreams, in which the properties of time and space are altered, perception follows suit, and the rigid boundaries between imagination and experience fluctuate and dissolve into the territory of the other. Speculative fact, then, rather than speculative fiction.

Here, both the reader and writer of literary works may discover meaning far beyond a singular narrative representation, beneath the language, behind the thought and well above a common notion of truth, in an act of imagination that precipitates illumination."

– Harrison Solow, free until the viva voce.

6 Comment count
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Good luck with the

Good luck with the presentation of the ideas and exploration of this fascinating realm. I find it playful and evocative, where playfulness is so very often absent. And what could be closer to the spiritual world than true play as it is a reflection of pure joy. I believe you are expressing the joy of not only language and its use but the ideas that must be expressed precisely even as they are exactly elusive.

Thanks for giving us a glimpse at the work you have been at all this time.


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Thank you, Christine.

This is a minute glimpse, but thematic. The dissertation consists of an entire creative work in addition to a critical work of which this excerpt is a fraction and over 200 footnotes, most of them discursive. Plus over 150 pages of appendices relevant to both works, so I am not sure this is representative, but it is something I tend to think about. You are right. I have great pleasure in the questions arising from the application of language to precision and elusiveness. Interestingly, one author I consulted uses these exact words to describe Wales: precise and elusive. Thank you for your insightful comment. I hope your own work is going well. ~ Harrison

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"Speculative fact"

You have pinned it down with this phrase, at least of the glimpse that reveals more to come. That you are examining history as memory is in some ways natural for memory is speculative and also part imagination (which is invention in your narrative).

The speculation is valid, too, when we think about forgetfulness. How much of history is retained by individuals and societies? Your are using language as a medium to explore this would be hugely interesting since language is evolving each day in the overt social construct.

Harrison, am glad you shared this. I like to be titillated!


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Congratulations Harrison.

Congratulations Harrison. Well done. I'm very proud of you. It takes great courage, or rather creative courage to come up with an original creative challenge to convention. Looking forward to see this new tree of literary life being examined around the world and spoken about in the hallowed halls of the institutions that covet their prized theories; perhaps a simple rock the boat phrase would suffice.


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Thank you, Michael.

I'm appreciative of your great enthusiasm, however this work won't be examined or spoken about in any hallowed halls for some time, if ever, since as there is a five year ban on digitising and photocopying it for five years. I am writing a book using much of this material, so I have protected it. Anyone who wants to read it, must travel to Wales and to the university library!  Kind of you to comment. ~ Harrison

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Farzana, your question is at

Farzana, your question is at the core of one of the three central issues I discuss. To wit:

"Just as photographs falsify records of experience by recording only what is in the frame, so does writing sometimes replace memory because of what must be left out.
As William Zinsser puts it:

'If you prize your memories as they are, by all means avoid – eschew – writing a memoir […] because it is a certain way to lose them. You can’t put together a memoir without cannibalizing your own life for parts. The work battens on your memories. And it replaces them. It’s a matter of writing’s vividness for the writer. After you’ve written, you can no longer remember anything but the writing. However true you make that
writing, you’ve created a monster. […] After I’ve written about any experience, my memories – those elusive fragmentary patches of colour and feeling – are gone.
They’ve been replaced by the work. The work is a sort of changeling on the doorstep – not your baby but someone else’s baby rather like it, different in some way that you can’t pinpoint, and yours has vanished. […] If you describe a dream you’ll notice that at the end of the verbal description you’ve lost the dream but gained a verbal description. You have to like verbal descriptions a lot to keep up this sort of thing.'"

(William Zinsser, Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), pp.156-157.)

This does not always happen of course. It depends a lot upon the difference between seeing and viewing. And how significant various aspects of one's recorded experience are - and how embedded. But it does happen and it makes sense to take that into account before describing them. But a great many books have been written as catharses, which points to the desire to lose, or dilute vivid recollection. This is not one of them, not being essentially a memoir, but as it invokes memory I was very careful in the writing of it. Thanks for the (as always) stimulating commentary. ~H