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Segal, H. (1994). Salman Rushdie and the Sea of Stories: A Not-So-Simple Fable about Creativity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:611-618.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:611-618

Salman Rushdie and the Sea of Stories: A Not-So-Simple Fable about Creativity

Hanna Segal


This paper examines Salman Rushdie's tale 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories', written for his younger son while Rushdie was in hiding from the fatwa. It is a fairy tale about the boy Haroun, who travels to the moon to find a cure for his father's loss of capacity to tell stories. There he discovers that the Ocean of Stories—source of all stories—is polluted. The author sees this tale as a parable of creativity, which can be used on many levels. On one level, it describes the artist's struggle against forms of political oppression, which aims at destroying all art, speech and thought. On another level, it could be seen as an internal conflict between the creative forces derived from the life instinct and those which are destructive and self-destructive deriving from the death instinct. Rushdie describes ways of dealing with this conflict and different outcomes depending on the way the conflict is faced.

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