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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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This volume has been long in the making and we have incurred, during its incubation and preparation, some debts. Our first thanks go to our patient authors; they have graciously endured the postponements imposed by our chronically busy schedules and have punctually responded to our queries and requests for revision. In the ungainly mix of rushing and waiting – scuttling to meet deadlines; waiting for editorial decisions and feedback – that inevitably characterize the rhythms of academic writing and publishing our authors – if we can be proprietary here – have been nothing but jolly fellow travellers throughout.

Some of the essays included here were first presented at the 16th International Conference of the Iberian Association of Cultural Studies (IBACS) held at the University of Murcia, 4–6 October 2013. We remain grateful to conference attendees, the personnel and administrators of the Facultad de Letras who contributed to the running of the event, to the many student volunteers who staffed the venue, to the intellectual stimulation generated by plenary speakers (George McKay, Jean Rendell, John Storey, and Chris Weedon), and generally to all presenters. We also owe thanks to the Fundación Séneca for a Jiménez de la Espada grant that helped to defray conference costs. We would also like to thank those authors who were not part of the conference but who agreed to write specially commissioned chapters for us.

At Peter Lang we want to thank the anonymous reviewers who provided useful feedback, and...

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