The Natural Transformation Quartet is British science fiction writer J. G. Ballard’s earliest four novels. In extreme natural catastrophes, the main protagonists go into the disaster areas while ordinary people seek safe places to avoid natural disasters. This attitude is regarded as heroic in this essay, rather than a meaningless suicidal act. Many critics including Roger Luckhurst read Ballard’s Natural Transformation Quartet with Jungian theories. In this essay, instead of the Jungian double, Taoism is applied to Ballard’s novels in the sense that the characters have more than one double and their journey to discover the true self does not end. Ballard’s heroes find their true self by submitting themselves to the natural force, rather than facing or avoiding it. In Jungian terms, there is a psychic goal to attain, to become one with one’s own shadow, however, in Taoism, the process of self-development is permanently ongoing. In terms of the endless process of self-development in nature, Ballard’s four novels are read in the Taoist frame. This essay interprets Ballard’s Natural Transformation Quartet as affirmative, reading them as psychic Bildungsromans not as disaster stories.
|Translated title of the contribution||Taoist Self-Development vs. Jungian Wholeness: Reading J. G. Ballard's Natural Transformation Quartet of the Wind from Nowhere, The Drowned World, The Drought and The Crystal World|
|Journal||The Journal of East-West Comparative Literature|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|