The Ideologies of Lived Space in Literary Texts, Ancient and Modern
Jo Heirman, University of Amsterdam
Jacqueline Klooster, University of Amsterdam
Pub Date: 2013
ISBN 13: 978-9-0382210-2-1
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It is most impressive how comprehensively this book delves into a such a vast range and variety of texts, moving seamlessly from Sophocles, Pliny the read more
It is most impressive how comprehensively this book delves into a such a vast range and variety of texts, moving seamlessly from Sophocles, Pliny the Elder, and Athenian funeral orations to 19th century novels. It is a vast topic, truly, but the text is accomplished in this respect; when it chooses to analyze the construction of nationalist narrative, for instance, the book manages to span a nearly two-thousand-year expanse, moving from Virgil's Aeneid and an epic poet's introduction of eternity to the identity of ancient Rome, to Soutsos' 19th Century novel O Leandros and its nationalistic vision of modern Greece.
I am confident regarding the absence of bias and about the accuracy of the research and perspectives being shared in The Ideologies of Lived Space.
The range of this text--ancient and modern-- in my opinion renders the question of relevance and longevity inapplicable. I would predict is that this study remains of interest and resilent in its ideas, and continues to be considered an edifying resource on literary space.
As a textbook, this book is not an adoption for a beginning literature class. However, this text is lucid and accessible to more nuanced students, and would provide notable and useful insight for them into the concept of space. It would make a fine textbook for a specialized literature course embracing space as its central subject, and certainly could be a relevant and worthwhile focus for students in such a literature class at the upper division undergraduate or graduate level.
I did find the text internally consistent in terminology and framework, with much conceptual and theoretical overlap: Foucault's heterotopias and Bahktin's chronotypes were central concepts in many of these essays, and of course, the spatial precedent of epic poetry seemed somewhat ever-present; a healthy balance was struck between less familiar poets like Nonnus, and the more famous bards-- Horace, Virgil, and Homer.
Idealogies of Lived Space manages the feat of gathering a series of intriguing essays on a single concept. These are arranged in five separate themes: Lived space and Society; Heterotopic spaces and Chronotopes; Ecocriticism and Space; Space and Power; and lastly, Spaces and the Deconstruction of Power. The book is indeed divided in a fashion that would permit instructors to assign readings at different points in a course, and these section titles could even be configured as an organization for a course. An index allows students to gravitate toward topics of particular interest.
There was a splendid blend of longer and shorter essays, and each were encased in a sensibly titled, relevant section of text. The book made good sense structurally and organizationally.
The text was not distracting or confusing in any way with its displayed features.
I did find two typos( on page 26 and page 129) but there was no evidence of significant grammatical errors. It is a very sound text grammatically.
This text was multicultural and inclusive in its approach, and invited a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds to its pages. Both Homer and Jamacia Kincaid were present in its pages. A host of disciplines also were showcased and participated ably in the study, with a multitude of poets, philosophers, historians, and storytellers represented. The text seemed quintessentially openminded and did not offend.
In the tradition of Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, this Idealogies of Lived Space opens and explores space as a concept in literature. I found the book captivating and resoundingly enjoyable on many levels and will return to it in the future. I would indeed recommend its use it for a literature course and as a tool for open students' minds to the captivating concept of literary space.
Table of Contents
The Ideologies of ‘Lived Space’, Ancient and Modern
Part 1 LIVED SPACE AND SOCIETY
- CAVE AND COSMOS
- SPACE AND MYTH
Part 2 HETEROTOPICAL SPACES AND CHRONOTOPES
- GRAVE STORIES
- THE THEATRE AS HETEROTOPIA
- SYMBOLIC ‘LIVED SPACES’ IN ANCIENT GREEK LYRIC AND THE HETEROTOPIA OF
- THE SYMPOSIUM
- PRODUCING UTOPIAN SPACE
Part 3 ECOCRITICISM AND SPACE
- IMAGINED SPACE/LIVED SPACE, ALIENATION/DESTRUCTION,
- NATURE’S HELPING HAND
Part 4 SPACE AND POWER
- ‘NO BOUNDS IN SPACE OR TIME’
- ARGO WAS HERE
- THE EPITAPHIOS, CIVIC IDEOLOGY AND THE CITYSCAPE OF CLASSICAL ATHENS
- INVENTING A NATIONAL NARRATIVE
Part 5 SPACES AND THE DECONSTRUCTION OF POWER
- SMALL PLACES
- WRITING SPACE, LIVING SPACE
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
About the Book
In a brief essay called Des espaces autres (1984) Michel Foucault announced that after the nineteenth century, which was dominated by a historical outlook, the current century might rather be the century of space. His prophecy has been fulfilled: the end of the twentieth century witnessed a ‘spatial turn’ in humanities which was perhaps partly due to the globalisation of our modern world. Inspired by the spatial turn in the humanities, this volume presents a number of essays on the ideological role of space in literary texts. The individual articles analyse ancient and modern literary texts from the angle of the most recent theoretical conceptualisations of space. The focus throughout is on how the experience of space is determined by dominant political, philosophical or religious ideologies and how, in turn, the description of spaces in literature is employed to express, broadcast or deconstruct this experience. By bringing together ancient and modern, mostly postcolonial texts, this volume hopes to stimulate discussion among disciplines and across continents. Among the authors discussed are: Homer, Nonnus, Alcaeus of Lesbos, Apollonius of Rhodes, Vergil, Herodotus, Panagiotis Soutsos, Assia Djebar, Tahar Djaout, Olive Senior, Jamaica Kincaid, Stefan Heym, Benoit Dutuertre, Henrik Stangerup and David Malouf.