‘Reiterative divergence’: Reflections on Maurice Ssendak’s Bumble-Ardy and Kenzaburô Ôe’s reimagining of Outside Over There | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 2042-8022
  • E-ISSN: 2042-8030



This paper discusses the six pages of free-form drawing in the middle of Maurice Sendak’s Bumble-Ardy, in terms of Japanese Nobel laureate Kenzaburô Ôe’s idea of ‘reiterative divergence,’ by which ‘meaning emerges [within a text] from the progression of slight variations’. I contextualize my cross-cultural borrowing by discussing Ôe’s analysis of Sendak’s Outside Over There, and exploring its revelatory and interpretive functions within Ôe’s novel, The Changeling. Beginning from the premise that Sendak is affirming his art as a mode of self-expression and self-revelation for which he has created both private and cultural symbols that he repeats and varies, I reference Sendak’s published interviews in an attempt to identify areas of significant personal interest—such as death, music, art, the purpose and function of artistic expression, sexuality and love. I also provide textual evidence for the claim that Outside Over There provides the Ur-text for this centre cut of Bumble-Ardy; As an example of reiterative divergence as a mode of critical explication, I advance an original interpretation of Outside Over There, suggesting that the central meaning of the text lies in Ida’s need to come to terms with the loss of her father, a mirror image of Sendak’s own yearning for a ‘lost’ daughter.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error