Why some islands are not just islands?
Why can some islands be both real and fictional?
Why do some islands attain a second life in literature?
What do some islands seem to attract big ideas, illusions and dreams?
Why are some islands, more often than others, chosen as sceneries of tales of escape?
Why do some islands appear in novels, satires, utopias and moral tales, more than other islands?
Why some islands, besides being made of rocks and soil like all islands, can also be, as I am calling them, paper islands?
I say, the more an island is an island, the more it makes you dream
Because democracy is no good in dreaming, we can say it loudly :
Some islands are more islands than other islands
«The élan that draws humans toward islands extends the double movement that produces islands in themselves. Dreaming of islands – whether with joy or in fear, it doesn’t matter – is dreaming of pulling away, of being already seperate, far from any continent, of being lost and alone – or it is dreaming of starting from scratch, recreating, beginning anew. Some islands drifted away from the continent, but the island is also that toward which one drifts; other islands originated in the ocean, but the island is also the origin, radical and absolute.»
I have found the words of this contemporary French philosopher through a comment by a learned person in Kristin’s blog or Mararoa’s blog which unfortunately I am unable to spot now. That comment linked to a chapter of the glorious wikispace «Dream Islands» which I think, sustains and explains my humble thoughts herebefore. That chapter is entitled:
After Deleuzes’s quote it goes:
«Islands burn into the minds of children from an early age. They emerge in the first literature where they are prominent in Homer’s Odyssey, and Plato’s island of Atlantis is perhaps the most famous mythical island of all time. The seclusion and autonomy that an island suggests has nourished the literary imagination for millennia, but the island setting as a site for the spiritual, emotional, or psychological transformation of human character has remained a constant in Western literature. The Greeks were the first to develop the island-book as such, but Roman writers showed much less interest in insular themes. On the fringes of Europe, Island stories were generously developed in the ‘imrama’, which were medieval Irish accounts of mythical Atlantic island voyages of chiefs and saints.
From Homer to Charles Kingsley the island narrative...»
The other chapters of Dream Islands are very enlightening too. Notably :
«Islands are no longer bound up so immediately with a self-sufficient agrarian life, its rituals and the cultivation of social solidarity. They instead begin to function as an antidote to the increasing division of labor and social stratification of the mainland. For modern islanders their environment functions as a vehicle for the display of individual temperament, talent, and interest, which runs against the grain of a standardized mainland global consumer culture. Islands therefore become loci of the impress of distinctive personality, interest, and emotion in sensuous production. In particular, they often function as a font of individual artistic production compared with the old rituals and epics, such as the poems of Homer, primeval biblical history and the Icelandic sagas, which linked everyone to common ways of life.
An important resource for modern islanders is nature. What we seek on islands is what we love in nature. Friedrich Shiller described…»
«A dream island is a distinctive and desirable place to be, which is defined within a physical, cultural, administrative, biological, mental, or virtual boundary. It is likely that most people’s dream islands would fall within the physical, administrative and biological categories.»
(Don’t miss the link to «Cultural Islands» )
«Paradise or Purgatory, Heaven or Hell, islands leave no one indifferent – and least of all the world’s artists, poets and writers, musicians and scholars, as reflected in the sampling the following links : Writings and Art
Unfortunately the link to the last chapter «Islands as Utopias» is no more valid. Instead, I am giving you a link to the standard Wikipedia :
That was all on the subject and I think it wasn’t too little. Read about one of the oldest ideas in the world and be inspired. But some day leave the paper behind and follow the dream to find out what truth there is to it. Defy the distance and sail through the shoals and the booming high surf.
A real island may be waiting for you thereafter and therein.
Ikaria, October 26, 2013