[en] Through a close scrutiny of Janet Frame’s life and work, it is my intention in this essay to suggest that Buddhism proved an irresistible magnet for the author’s inquisitive spirit and that it played an important part in the shaping of her poetics. In effect, we shall see under what circumstances Frame’s encounter with the East took place and the extent to which notions such as the empirical mind or knowledge, the Great Death of the ego and the non-duality of the world permeate her oeuvre. The underlying concern in the second part of the essay shall be to buttress the claim that Frame constantly seeks ways through which the infinite and the other can be approached, but not corrupted, by the perceiving self, and that she found in the Buddhist epistemology a pathway towards such alterity. Thus, against the grain of mainstream criticism which maintains that one cannot explore “beyond,” a Buddhist navigation of Frame’s texts leads one to the surprising notion that the unharnessed world (or the infinite) which human beings are unable to embrace is, so to speak, right under their nose so that, between ‘this’ world of limited perceptions and ‘that’ world of the beyond, the boundary is as thick or as thin as the walls of a self-made conceptual prison.
The Unharnessed World: Janet Frame and Buddhist Thought