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Contemporary Writing and the Politics of Space

Borders, Networks, Escape Lines


Edited By David Walton and Juan Antonio Suárez

This collective volume explores questions of space in contemporary literary texts from a range of theoretical perspectives. In addition to mapping the «spatial turn» in literary and cultural studies, this volume also brings together studies that apply spatial theory to the analysis of literary texts. Contributors tackle a broad range of themes, including how prose fiction addresses spaces of intimacy, abjection, espionage, discipline, madness, post-human identities, post-communist cities, the architecture of dystopia, and coercive medical practices. In turn, these themes open up analysis to key areas within contemporary literary and cultural criticism, including the study of sexuality, politics, power, and identity; the configuration of urban, regional, and national spaces and borders; and the delineation of private and public domains. The contributors reflect on diverse authors from English-speaking cultures and focus on a variety of genres and periods while acknowledging recent research in space studies and offering original contributions to what has now become a thriving field.

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11 Reconfiguring the Epic Space in Anne Waldman’s The Iovis Trilogy (Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo)


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11  Reconfiguring the Epic Space in Anne Waldman’s The Iovis Trilogy


Anne Waldman’s The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (2011) is a twenty-five-year-long project self-styled as a feminist epic. With the original premise ‘to shoulder/abdicate patriarchy’ (2011: xx), the three tomes that comprise the epic – ‘All is full of Jove’, ‘Guardian and Scribe’, and ‘Eternal War’ – seize upon positive and negative forms of masculine energy through the deeds of the archetypical patriarch Jove. Tracing or tracking Jove down becomes in Iovis a quest with a marked spatial dimension. On the one hand, movement and travel delineate the heroine’s investigation, and the poem becomes a remapping of the world – a cartographic effort through which she complicates hegemonic representations. On the other hand, and closely linked to this idea, the epic text itself is approached in Iovis as an available space to study and contest the subordination of women in history and literature. To explore these intersections, this chapter accesses Anne Waldman’s use of space in The Iovis Trilogy through two main points of entrance: the literary and literal movement delineated by an ‘investigative poetics’, and the exploration of genre and gender through the space of the epic text itself.

Poetics of Movement

As a literary genre, the epic has long been associated with spatio-temporal journeys. ‘Epic storytelling’, write Mario Skempis and Ioannis Ziogas, ‘comes into existence by describing persons’...

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