Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gavin Parkinson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381434

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381434.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of
date: 15 December 2017

Surrealist Painting as Science Fiction: Considering J. G. Ballard’s ‘Innate Releasing Mechanism’1

Surrealist Painting as Science Fiction: Considering J. G. Ballard’s ‘Innate Releasing Mechanism’1

Chapter:
(p.174) 8. Surrealist Painting as Science Fiction: Considering J. G. Ballard’s ‘Innate Releasing Mechanism’1
Source:
Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics
Author(s):

Gavin Parkinson

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781381434.003.0009

This chapter builds on the success of Jeannette Baxter’s recent volume J.G. Ballard’s Surrealist Imagination (2009) by acknowledging Ballard’s own belief that Surrealism is not just a literary or artistic movement but a means of understanding the world and the human mind, and by interpreting Surrealist paintings along Ballardian lines as ‘time travel’ works. This is authorised largely by Ballard’s own uses of Surrealist paintings by Salvador Dalí, Oscar Domínguez, Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy as generators for the narratives of his short stories of the 1960s and his novels The Drowned World (1962) and The Drought (1965). Entertaining a notion of the unconscious that contains deposits of ancestral memory, which are reawakened under certain conditions, Ballard’s interpretation of Surrealist painting is advertised by his use of the technical term ‘innate releasing mechanism,’ which is to be found among the writings of the Jungian mythologist Joseph Campbell. In the writings of Campbell and Carl Jung, shared universals emerge in local societies in the garb of myths; in Ballard’s fiction, dramatic changes in the natural environment reawaken the most primal, pre-social, even pre-human memories in living humans, resituating them in a time before myth. This is not a return of the Freudian, biographical repressed buried in a part of the mind, from which ‘psychoanalysis reconstructs the original traumatic situation in order to release the repressed material,’ but a physical reaction as Ballard puts it in The Drowned World, educing the ‘archaeopsychic past, uncovering the ancient taboos and drives that have been dormant for epochs.’

Keywords:   Jung myth psychoanalysis repression Ballard

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.