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Edited by Pascale Guibert

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David Jasper

The ascetic tradition, which begins in the desert, seeks an equilibrium which is a perfect balance of absence and presence. This is related to Heidegger’s notion of ‘dwelling poetically’ as a fundamental form of human life which has its origins, for the Western reader at least, in the literature of the Bible. In the desert, like Elijah, we encounter God, felt as a kind of homecoming. The ambivalences of the desert are caught in Jim Crace’s novel Quarantine, a revisiting of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Finally, the desert is the Lord’s lost paradise garden, a place wholly other and yet entirely familiar — like home.

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Eamonn Wall

“Digging into the west: Tim Robinson’s Deep Landscapes” is a detailed exploration of Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage with the purpose of describing Robinson’s response to Aran Islands landscape and his efforts to map Inishmore, the largest of the islands. Robinson begins by drawing a traditional map though, when he finds such maps lacking in scope, he moves on to create a deep-map — one that includes the history, languages, folklore, and religious beliefs of the island and its people. His prose work is compared and contrasted to Synge’s The Aran Islands, the most famous modern work that examines the islands, and it is shown the degree to which Robinson has sought to revise Synge’s interpretation. This essay is underlined by the works of other writers and scholars who have written influential works on landscape — Declan Kiberd and William Least Heat-Moon, in particular.

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Laurent Folliot

This essay endeavours to account for the originality of Wordsworth’s early poems and their conception of landscape. This includes ascertaining what “the picturesque” may have meant for Wordsworth beyond his later repudiations of the notion, but also analysing his early poetry as resulting from a collision between “picturesque” and “georgic” influences and imperatives. Wordsworth’s later poetics of place thus appears as first emerging from the problems and contradictions of 18th century poetry and aesthetics.

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Richard Pedot

Landscape in Heart of Darkness is neither realistic nor symbolic, but is better understood as a stage or a paradoxical threshold giving privileged access, through the flight of imagination, to the unmappable at the centre of any map. Whereas a landscape should be conceived of as an attempt at territorialisation — of which colonialism is a good example — the African landscape in Conrad’s novel emerges as a site both of inscription and de-territorialisation, testifying to what J. H. Miller sees as the atopical and Freud as the uncanny.

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Barbara Montefalcone

This paper will discuss the American poet Robert Creeley’s treatment of the concept of landscape in relation to his collaborative activity. Writing after observing his collaborators’ works Creeley deals with many artistic landscapes: on the one hand we will explore the very notion of “artistic landscape”; on the other hand we will analyze Creeley’s verbal response to the visual representations produced by his collaborators.

Robert Creeley and Alex Katz’s collaboration, Edges (1999), will be closely studied. In this particular case Creeley deals with both a natural landscape and someone else’s (Katz’s) representation of this same landscape. Inclusion and exclusion, present and past, abstraction and concreteness therefore alternate in his poem. Moreover, Creeley’s role as spectator will enable us to emphasize the distinction between seeing a landscape and seeing a representation of landscape. We will show how the difference dwells in the very notion of spectatorship.

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Pascale Guibert

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Pascale Guibert

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Marjorie Vanbaelinghem

This article sets out to reconsider the place of landscape in British painting since the 1980s. In doing so, it aims at going against the grain of many common critical beliefs, particularly the one that opposes Land Art as radically modernist to neo-figurative painting seen as a return to the national tradition of landscape-painting. Analysing the works of such painters as Maurice Cockrill, Michael Andrews or Peter Doig, and focusing on the way their technical innovations question or blur landscape, one can see that landscape is not to be merely taken as the subject-matter of their oeuvre It is the tradition of landscape which the artists are interested in, as what allows for reflection over artistic practice, as well as experimentation on the relationship between viewer and artwork. Ultimately, as such aspects bring these painters close to the practice of other contemporary artists, like Julian Opie or Darren Almond, and give landscape both a passive and active status, as object and subject, landscape may appear as a reflection of/on the state of British art at the end of the twentieth century.