Tuesday, 2 March 2010

"The beat and the chorus at the same time"...an unbreachable limit or a challenge?

For Milan Kundera ‘the novel cannot breach the limits of its own possibilities’. This quote has got me thinking about boundaries in literature and all art forms for that matter. The idea of ‘possibility’ covers such a grand span as possibilities are endless and come in many forms. So what is meant by the possibilities of a novel? I did some research on literature that has pushed its limits and the limits of its readers. What continued to appeal to me was controversial literature, works that have been banned for pushing boundaries and breaching limitations that nobody thought were possible. For example D.H Lawrence’s novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s lover’ was banned for pushing the sexual boundaries of its time. Surely this proves that novels can indeed breach their limits and create new possiblities.
In class we looked at the possibilities that could arise upon meeting a historic figure, my group chose Elizabeth I. We discussed who we could introduce her to, to test her personal limitations and ideals. We chose Katie Price, a woman who today is seen as having a scandalous power over the nation, as Elizabeth once did. I wrote a poem about Elizabeth and the limits she puts upon herself:


My virtue is my thrown
The Lord, your God
My husband
Born in place of man
Vanity’s my outcome

Marry not for scandal
Alliances, gifts
What sum!
But as for suitors
I want none

Drudgery my task’s converted
My rein, My crown
Is my Heir
The life of a simple family owned woman
Is for one I do not care.

What is so exciting about limits, possibilities and boundaries in literature, music or even within ourselves is that what some construe as limits, others see as eventual defeatable challenges. This is how individual art is created. I’ve posted an example of art defying the assumed limited physical possibilities, this is the BeatBoxer Rahzel, clearly to him limits are rules made for breaking.


  1. Robyn, It is good to see you so engaged with the issues and ideas we are trying to unpick through the works of Calvino and Kundera. You are beginning to take the material on board and broadening out your thinking, well done, Andy

  2. Wow how does he do that. I have seen it done with a group but never with a single person. I shows the power not only of his voice and throat but also of his mind and brain to be able to put it all together.