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“We look to the unseen, to the power of opposites—the darkness and the light, the seen and unseen, the known and unknown, the dreams and the reality.”
I can’t imagine a better time for a special issue on the Imaginary South than now. And, to be sure, we could have no better guest editor than the brilliantly original Zandria F. Robinson, whose vision—and imagination—flavors all that follows. In this current moment, the whole idea of the imaginary mixes and blends with my concern about the dominance of a kind of alternative and invisible fact—or perhaps no facts at all. I long, at times, for the grounding influence of what James Agee called “human actuality,” a desire to see and face, again borrowing Agee’s words, the cruelty and radiance as best we possibly can. And yet, I also contend that it’s artists, scholars, and thinkers, including those in this issue, who have most fully helped us to see and understand the actual through insightful renderings of imagination, speculation, and the aesthetic power of thick description, all leading us to a place of revelation.