12.10.11

Julian Barnes on Memory and Imagination

An extract from Nothing to be Frightened of
Julian Barnes
Maud Newton has quoted a passage from Julian Barnes' Nothing to be Frightened of: 'For the young — and especially the young writer — memory and imagination are quite distinct, and of different categories. In a typical first novel, there will be moments of unmediated memory (typically, that unforgettable sexual embarrassment), moments where the imagination has worked to transfigure a memory (perhaps that chapter in which the protagonist learns some lesson about life, whereas in the original the novelist-to-be failed to learn anything), and moments when, to the writer’s astonishment, the imagination catches a sudden upcurrent and the weightless, wonderful soaring that is the basis for the fiction delightingly happens.' [Read More]