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Space in Literature

Method, Genre, Topos


Edited By Urszula Terentowicz-Fotyga

This study focuses on the problem of spatiality in literature. Evoking a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, the book demonstrates that the analysis of the spatial aspect of the literary text encompasses a variety of textual elements and structures. Organized around three defining problems - spatial topoi, genres and methods - the study gives the reader a good insight into contemporary research on the intersection of space and literature. The topics covered in this book range from the symbolism of different topoi, spatial modelling in literary genres to the spatial form of textual materiality. The individual chapters address the problem of literary space in poetry, drama and fiction.

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Speculative Cartographies and Contemporary Poetry

Grzegorz Czemiel


More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.

Elizabeth Bishop, “The Map”

I send sound signals into the atmosphere

and listen for how they return, distorted.

Caoilinn Hughes, “Atmospheric Physicist vs Poetic Atmosphericist”

Abstract: The paper approaches the subject of space in literature from a perspective that combines the findings of speculative realism (SR) with those of post-representational cartographical theory developed in human geography. The present aim is to introduce and elaborate on the idea of speculative cartography as a theoretical concept explaining how literature can engage with the world through “speculative” map-making that opposes “representational” cartography. Whereas the latter attempts to grasp reality in purely anthropocentric terms, the former employs metaphorical thinking in order to signal the existence of a “Great Outdoors” (Quentin Meillassoux’s term) and sketch its relationship with humanity not only in terms of mastery but also in sustainable co-existence. As a result, literature is argued to produce “weird” maps that are metaphorical and non-representational in character, facilitating the production of a less anthropocentric account of reality, one that would acknowledge multiple non-human components, thus enabling more ethical and ecological modes of living.

Keywords: speculative realism, , post-representational cartography, , map-making, , contemporary poetry

The question of space in literature has been raised numerous times in recent decades, with the volume of space-inflected criticism snowballing to an extent that necessitated the adopting of the label “spatial turn” to denote the range and gravity of the...

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