Myth Reading Group
Thursday 10 November
12.00-1.30pm in Room NTC.2.06
This week Dr Ben Pestell continues our discussion of Mythscapes with a session on post-apocalyptic archaism in J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned WorldIn Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962), a modern, post-diluvian landscape is transformed by the resurgent flora and fauna of the Palaeozoic and Triassic eras. At the same time, the inhabitants of the drowned city are increasingly plagued by shared dreams of a prehistoric landscape and a huge, pulsating, captivating sun. In Ballard’s vision, the post-apocalyptic and the archaic collide, just as the psychological and the material realms are confused. The scenario echoes the conditions described by Freud, in Totem and Taboo, in his speculation on the traumatic origin of myth and religion. Is myth really so freighted with trauma and remorse?
- J. G. Ballard, The Drowned World  (London: Fourth Estate, 2012)
- Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Some Points of Agreement Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics , trans. James Strachey  (London: Routledge, 2001)