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Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

Literature as cultural discourse has always courted mobility. From the nomadic wanderings of the heroes of Homer and Virgil through the adventures of the medieval knight-errants to the travellers of modern times, movement and mobility have been constitutive elements of story-telling. Since writers have begun to explore the experiential dimension of movement their texts have embraced the essential changeability and instability of ‘mobile worlds’. In this sense literature reflects and processes the transformative force of movement on the perception of the world and is part of the broader cultural discourses of mobility.
From the 1936 film Night Mail to the rapid movements of the dime novel detective and the metaphorical coding of automobility in Futurist poetry, the essays in this volume offer new perspectives on the phenomenon of mobility at the intersection between the literary imagination and cultural experience. They explore movement as a decisive force of change in the history of modernity and show how literature in its representation of mobility simultaneously aims both to mirror and to grasp the phenomenon.

No Maps for These Territories

Cities, Spaces, and Archaeologies of the Future in William Gibson

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Karin Hoepker

No Maps for These Territories offers an archaeology of seemingly tried and trusted concepts: cartography, architecture, urban space. While rethinking Michel Foucault’s theories, Karin Hoepker reconstructs the cartographic dispositives of spatial order. The futuristic fictional cityscapes of science fiction writer William Gibson are the touchstone for this epistemological analysis and typology of spatial formations. In seven probing chapters that focus on architectural blueprints, forms of inhabitation, Wunderkammern, and economic formations of retail, consumption, and entertainment such as shopping malls, amusement parks, and gambling meccas, Hoepker investigates a set of exemplary phenomena crucial to the fields of architecture, geography, philosophy, cartography, history of science, literary studies, and the arts. No Maps for These Territories thus offers close readings of fictional, philosophical, and theoretical texts, and examines instructive examples of the workings of spatial production. In a form of contrastive writing, the monograph sheds critical light on theoretical and fictional texts equally.

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Edited by Pascale Guibert

Too many landscapes have been reduced to silent commodities by being put into golden frames on top of our fireplaces. Too many landscapes have been reified by being considered as objects holding forth referents to an omnipotent looker-on, with his/her language ever ready to seize and transcribe. The articles gathered here, prolonging an international conference held at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie (France), 14-16 June 2007, set the landscapes loose again by engaging with their essentially relational quality.
What makes this volume particularly stimulating and critically innovative is this initial acknowledgement of a landscape’s reflectiveness – that is the fact that it contains unthought thought, and thus presents itself to us both passively and actively. This straightaway appraisal of the lines of flight in the seemingly static, tranquil images facing us, has opened the way to deeply critical readings bent on questioning old tracks, testing new itineraries, denying the closure of the subject. At the same time, and by way of consequence, it leads us to encounter the force in landscape. A force like an energy, an impetus, which makes it possible – if not advisable! – to still compose, read and enjoy landscapes in the XXIst century.

Process

Landscape and Text

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Edited by Catherine Brace and Adeline Johns-Putra

While the relationship between place and creative effort has been the focus of pronounced new interest in various disciplines, the contours and co-ordinates of the process by which one informs the other, by which landscape shapes text and vice versa, have yet to be delineated in any systematic fashion. This volume sheds light on that process, investigating the ways in which it is both reciprocal and interstitial: how does text shape our perception of landscape as much as it is shaped by it, and how do we account for the points at which text and landscape intersect? The first part of the volume introduces us to the question of process in landscape and literary studies; the second part examines the moments within the process by which landscape and text come to bear upon each other; and the final part deals with the relationship between the material experience of landscape and the formal characteristics of a given text, using this to reflect back on the processes of landscape perception and creativity. This volume spans the disciplines of geography, literary studies, and the visual arts. It also brings together scholarly and creative perspectives, interspersing academic commentary with poetic-photographic essays.

Culture, Creativity and Environment

New Environmentalist Criticism

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Edited by Ian Beckett and Terry Gifford

Culture, Creativity and Environment: New Environmentalist Criticism is a collection of new work which examines the intersection between philosophy, literature, visual art, film and the environment at a time of environmental crisis. This book is unusual in the way in which the ‘imaginative’, ‘creative’, element is privileged, notwithstanding the creativity of rigorous cultural criticism. Genuinely interdisciplinary, this book aims to be inclusive in its discussions of diverse cultural media (different literary genres, art forms and film for instance), which offer thoughtful and thought-provoking critiques of our relationships with the environment. Our ability to transcend the ethical and aesthetic categories and discourses that have contributed to our alienation from our environment is dependant upon an enlargement of our imaginative capacities. In a modest way this book might contribute to what Ted Hughes, speaking of the imagination of each new child, described as “nature’s chance to correct culture’s error”.

Series:

Edited by Robert Burden and Stephan Kohl

In the papers collected in this, the first volume of the Spatial Practices series, Englishness is reflected in the spaces it occupies or dwells in. Broadly influenced by a renewed and growing interest in questions of cultural identity, its emergence in Victorian theories and fictions of nationality, and the new cultural geography, the papers cover a rich variety of spaces and places which have been appropriated for cultural meanings: the rural countryside and farmland of the Home Counties in the early nineteenth century as Arcadian idyll in Cobbett, as the land to die for in war propaganda, and as nostalgia for a unified, organic English culture in Lawrence, Morton and Priestley’s travel writing, but also in the Shell Tourist Guides to motoring in rural England; English moorland; the sacred geographies of monuments in Hardy and others; the traditional seaside deconstructed in Martin Parr’s photography, and the sea as English Victorian imperial territory and its symbolic breezes in Froude’s travel writing. The English landscape is also a paradigm for the description of other places in D. H. Lawrence’s travel writing or for the colonial territory itself in Rushdie’s writing India, a displacement of other landscapes. This collection of papers examines the assumption that constructions of rural England provide the basis for an understanding of Englishness.