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Anaxamander

April 26, 2011

Genesis - Bernard Beckett

As I was writing out the first page of The Catalogue of the Universe (refer earlier blog), I answered a little question that had been hanging around in my head…

I did wonder what the significance of Bernard Beckett’s protagonist in Genesis being named ‘Anaxamander‘ was – I couldn’t see any double meaning and all the other characters seemed to have such pointed names that, you know…. I mean, she’s the protagonist, so… why that name?

Then I read Mahy’s description of the original, real Anaxamander and it all came clear: “an ancient Greek, an Ionian scientist called Anaximander, had been the first person to work out that the moon might shine by reflected light alone…. understanding moonlight was not just simple, but another mysterious victory for the human mind.” p7 The Catalogue of the Universe

the moon; light – reflected light especially! – totally appropriate in a text that revisits Plato’s allegory of the cave

and this idea that it was ‘a victory for the human mind’ perfectly fits a novel that explores what it is to be human; what consciousness is; how we know something, etc.

…the name Anaxamander makes sense now.

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From → Beckett Bernard

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