Jeanette Winterson

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

[Painting by Gustave Moreau depicting Saint George slaying the dragon
from Wikipedia.]

I'm teaching Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit again. It's hard to believe that Winterson wrote this when she was 23.

This is from the chapter called "Deuteronomy: The last book of the law":

People like to separate storytelling which is not fact from history which is fact. They do this so that they know what to believe and what not to believe. This is very curious. How is it that no one will believe that the whale swallowed Jonah, when every day Jonah is swallowing the whale? I can see them now, stuffing down the fishiest of fish tales, and why? Because it is history. Knowing what to believe has its advantages. It built an empire and kept people where they belonged, in the bright realm of the wallet . . . .


There is an order and a balance to be found in stories.

History is St George.

And when I look at a history book and think of the imaginative effort it has taken to squeeze this oozing world between two boards and typeset, I am astonished.

1 comment :

  1. I love this book and find something new in it every time I read it. My students always fixate on the sandwich metaphor from that chapter, for some reason...


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