Topodynamics of Arrival

Essays on Self and Pilgrimage


HerausgeberInnen: Gert Hofmann und Snježana Zorić
Travelling is the art of motion, motion results in moments of human encountering, and such moments manifest themselves in unsettling linguistic repercussions and crises of meaning. Places of arrival also function as inscriptions of such meaningful repercussions, inscriptions of the past crossing the present, of the other crossing the self. The contributions in this book explore places, rituals, texts and scriptures as religious or secular inscriptions – “topographies” – of such “arrivals.”
Each arrival happens, and its very place manifests itself only as a momentous component of the process itself. Arrival is an event of conclusion as well as of urgency for subsequent explorations of new meanings to be read from the topography of the place, mirroring thus a signifying dynamic for the metamorphosis of the traveller’s self: “ topodynamic” of arrival. In this vein this book investigates for the first time the dynamic of cultural formations of space, an aspect of spatiality which since the “spatial turn” in cultural discourse has mostly been neglected.

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“The volume is a fascinating addition and complementation to the debate on the spatial turn and spatial practices linked to the concepts of arrival and departure, real and metaphorical pilgrimages, the construction of identities through travel and the "'topo-dynamic' human presence." (16) Travelling turns into metamorphosis with people in a state of liminality. The pilgrims/travellers journey through the chronotopes and their experiences both "re-create and re-imagine the human self" (13) and the way the Other is perceived and constructed in a dialogue between persons and topography. The essays deal with a great variety of sources and systems of signification: literature, monuments, myths and rituals in a European and even global context. [….] The individual analyses are lucid and convincing and start from different theoretical premises which are, however, all linked by the concept of the performative and transformative powers of signification processes in real and metaphorical sites, topographies and mnemotopes. The theme is convincingly deployed and makes the anthology a fascinating read and incentive for further investigations for scholars both from cultural studies and literature.” – Joachim Schwend, University of Leipzig, in: Journal for the Study of British Cultures , Vol 20.2 2013

Topodynamics of Arrival’s range is remarkable. The sub-heading of the Spatial Practices series is “An Interdisciplinary Series in Cultural History, Geography and Literature,” and interdisciplinarity is evident and alive throughout the collection. So, too, is internationality. The contributors and editors work in countries from Canada to Romania, Ireland to Croatia.
John Outhwaite’s essay, about a Dutchman in Spain, provides an intriguing new perspective on the idea of Europe. Gert Hofmann’s essay is likewise fascinating, and David Buchanan’s contribution lucidly traces the function of the ‘chronotope’ from Gilgamesh to Chekhov.
The collection thus provides a rich new context in which to situate Evelyn Waugh.” – Patrick Query (U.S. Military Academy), in Evelyn Waugh Studies 45.2 (2014), pp. 21-23 (Full text available:
Gert Hofmann and Snježana Zorić: Introduction: Topo-dynamic of Place and Body
Snježana Zorić: The Stupa of Borobudur – a Place of Inner Pilgrimage
Michael Shields: Coming to Oneself: Structures of Arrival in Songs Sung by Flagellant Pilgrims in Strassburg in 1349
Antonija Zaradija Kiš: St Clement of Rome: The Romanic-Slavic Symbiosis of the Cult and its Tradition in the Croatian Lands
John Outhwaite: The Literature of Pilgrimage and the Search for Community: Cees Nooteboom’s Roads to Santiago and the Imagining of National and Pan-European Identities
Martin Potter: Catholic Approaches to Jerusalem: Fragmentation and Continuity of Identities – Evelyn Waugh’s Helena and Muriel Spark’s The Mandelbaum Gate
Gert Hofmann: Colonus Heterotopos. Theatre as Tragic Inversion of Ritual Order
David Buchanan: Reading the Other. Bakhtin and the Topography of Arrival in Literature
Irina Dzero: From Exile to Escape: Frame Narratives of the Decameron and the Heptameron
Andreas Stuhlmann: Pilgrimage, Transformation and Poetical Anthropology. Hubert Fichte’s Journeys into the Afro-American Religions in Brazil
Ketevan Kupatadze: Magic of the City: Travel Narratives of the Project “Año 0”
Adrienne Bernhard: Topographies Real and Imagined in Sarah Orne Jewett’s A White Heron
List of Contributors