Realms of Shadow and Darkness – Lands of the Elsewhere
Keywords:imaginary, literature, phenomenology
A definition of “collective imaginary” can be found in the work of Gaston Bachelard and Gilbert Durand, as a place where imagination and cultural symbols meet, a vast sea in which symbols and myths are the deeply hidden sources of the imaginative encyclopaedia (a repertoire of stories and visions) of the social formation we live in. One of the richest among the symbolic and mythical knots is linked to shadow and darkness, domains of the unknown and of the terrifying – a fertile seed for more than two centuries of storytelling – an expression of the irrational drives and instances which are present in each social subjectivity. My purpose here is that of inspecting the transformations and the outcomes of a fiction that has been inspired by such symbols, making a case for a possible connection between the fiction itself and the feelings of disorientation and risk we find in contemporary society. I investigate the processes of re-sacralisation linked to the appearance of new eschatologies, by analysing the work of some authors and film directors in order to compare its content with the sociological research revolving around an emergent and undeniable “re-enchantment of the world”.
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