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Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

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Timo Lothmann and Antje Schumacher

On the basis of the theoretical framework of conceptual metaphor, this paper features an analysis and interpretation of selected poems by Filippo Marinetti and Lawrence Ferlinghetti with respect to their representation of the automobile and automobility. It shows that the integration of such mobility technologies as the car into discourse takes place in clearly discernible stages. In this process, spatial dimensions are pivotal in the revision of the hierarchical relationship between man and nature. Further, the acceleration as enabled by technologies like the automobile has a distinct impact on how space is (re)constituted.

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Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

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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.

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Renate Brosch

This paper examines concepts of mapping in cultural discourse, investigating its gradual accumulation of meanings beyond the special reference to a geographical technology. Mapping has seen a brilliant career in the course of which it has become severed from enlightenment logic and territorial, colonial politics and come to stand for a spatial representation of things with blurred boundaries and instable entities constantly on the move. In order to assess the benefits and disadvantages of this reconceptualisation, the paper analyses the popular novel The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, in which mapping is redefined as an unofficial, even subversive notational practice at odds with scientific positivism. Since the novel’s figurations of space and mobility are in many ways paradigmatic of cultural discourse, it provides an example of the ambiguous characteristics associated with the concept. Tracing mobility and movement in visual, diagrammatic and verbal representations allows for the foregrounding of embodied spatial experience, thus supplementing traditional conceptualisations with an experiential, embodied dimension. By applying the concept of mapping to a deliberately subjective agency, however, the temporal conditions of change can also be glossed over and disguised.

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Philipp Erchinger

This essay is centred on a close reading of G.H. Lewes’s Studies in Animal Life and his Sea-Side Studies which examines the form and theme of these texts in the context of Victorian concepts of motion and life, including Lewes’s own. While in the Studies in Animal Life, Lewes’s subject often seems to escape the mode of writing through which he seeks to grasp this subject, I argue, the rambling movement of the Sea-Side Studies constitutes a more appropriate way of accommodating the form of studying to the studied theme. For, in this series of texts, Lewes’s method of writing always remains as mobile as the subject-matter - life - that this method seeks to understand. Consequently, the position of the naturalist explorer changes and evolves in conjunction with the objects that it explores. This enables Lewes to bring these objects to life, instead of locking them up in a determinate grid of fixed ideas. But it also means that the position from which he works cannot be reduced to absolute principles or spelled out in final propositional terms. As the article shows, this position is better described as an emergent one, taking shape in practice and over time, ‘growing’ and developing in relation to - and in accordance with - the requirements and challenges of particular situations, rather than on the basis of a general framework interpreting all these situations in the same terms. Lewes’s enactment of this mobile position is consistent with his experimentalist philosophy as it is outlined in his five volume fragment Problems of Life and Mind, another text that not just states, but exemplifies that the “separation of process and product, cause and effect,” as Lewes argues, “is properly a distinction of aspects, not a separation of reals.”

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Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

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Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

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Sven Strasen, Timo Lothmann and Peter Wenzel

Mobility is a physical experience that calls forth strong cognitive responses from every individual. Means of transportation thus lend themselves in an ideal manner to being incorporated into a shared repertoire of images, topoi, and general notions. To illustrate this process, we analyse selected poems and discuss the discursive appropriation of the railway, the automobile, and the airplane in the light of conceptual metaphor theory and conflicting discursive societal positions. We aim to show that the appropriation runs through different stages, ultimately leading to a stage at which the mobility technology turns into a metaphor itself.

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Birgit Neumann

As Britain expanded its overseas spheres of influence in the course of the seventeenth century, the complex dynamics of territorial expansion and global mobility became a central topic of cultural negotiation. Imaginatively circumnavigating the world, numerous poems, plays and travelogues evoke powerful ideological tropes to give specific historical meaning to the complex experience of global mobility and territorial expansion. Frequently, this “expansionist fantasy” (Brown 2001: 74) revolves around the figure of the sea, which becomes a paradigm of imperial capitalism and territorial desire. Yet the sea figures not merely as a symbol of imperial progress and maritime capitalism; rather it is imagined as an agent of change itself, an agent that sets up global trading networks, connects waterways and impels the English along an inevitable and predestined course. The present article traces some of the literary and rhetorical strategies by which the sea is made an agent of expansion (sans violence) and is thus translated into spatial practice. It is argued that the trope of the sea makes manifest a set of claims about political and commercial power, legitimising imperialism as an inevitable, vigorous and yet highly precarious development. By effortlessly forging transatlantic links between metropolitan Britain and territorial peripheries, the trope of the sea depicts imperialism as a natural extension of space and a progressive development in history.