Ben Okri’s The Landscapes Within (1981): The Unfinished Story

Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 119)


This paper begins with an initial justification of the chosen title and argues for the idea of The Landscapes Within effectively becoming the eponymous hero of a tale, the trajectory of which is the inner workings of the mind of the artist-protagonist, Omovo. Drawing on Ben Okri’s own sense of the incompleteness of this, his second novel, which he was later to rewrite as Dangerous Love, it invokes Milan Kundera’s discussion of the significance of an ‘unfinished’ story in the sense of what has not been achieved. The critique of this novel focuses on the ‘unachieved’ in terms of its relation between Omovo’s stolen and confiscated and unfinished paintings and Kundera’s three new categories of art: the art of radical divestment, the art of novelistic counterpoint and the art of the specifically novelistic essay. It concludes by briefly justifying the paper’s claim that, in this novel, art, like philosophy, deals with inner reality, with ‘the landscapes within.’ ‘Philosophy,’ says Okri consciously articulating the artistic procsess or the imaginatio creatrix in operation ‘is most powerful when it revolves into story. But story is amplified in power by the presence of philosophy.’


Creative imagination Milan Kundera’s The Art of the Novel Ben Okri’s The Landscapes Within The ‘unfinished’ story 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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