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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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12 The Literary Geography of a Border Zone: The Canary Islands in Ewing Campbell’s Afoot in the Garden of Enchantments (Tomás Monterrey)


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12  The Literary Geography of a Border Zone: The Canary Islands in Ewing Campbell’s Afoot in the Garden of Enchantments


The notion of border raises ideas of division, power and hybrid identities. Yet in Ewing Campbell’s (1940–) Afoot in the Garden of Enchantments (2007), borders are seen as intersecting areas overcharged with the energy of manifold encounters and, therefore, with the dissolution of the commonplace and the emergence of the unexpected. The Canary Islands offer Campbell a geographical insular territory in the Atlantic intersection between Europe and Spain, Moslem North Africa and the Americas, a space ready for literary signification for the writer and free of literary meaning for his readership. This chapter attempts to analyse Campbell’s construction of spatiality in his Canary Islands stories. With the help of theories such as Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception, Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizomatics and nomadology, Lefebvre’s mirror and mirage effect, and Soja’s postmodern geography, the discussion will show how the Canaries provide Campbell with suitable territory to explore the politics of space.

Ewing Campbell’s narratives concentrate on how characters gain deeper insight or self-knowledge; however, the title of his short story collection Afoot in the Garden of Enchantments indicates the importance of space in his fiction. ‘Afoot’ denotes the human body and movement, subjectivity and performance. Campbell’s narrators are indeed literally or metaphorically afoot. He seems to prefer first-person narrators who come across situations similar to their...

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