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By E. Prieto

This ebook opens up an understudied sector in the box of literary spatiality: the query of geographical emergence. A research of latest literary representations of position, it attracts on phenomenological, poststructural, and postcolonial theories of area and position to teach how literature contributes to the formation of recent geographical identities. With chapters dedicated to the in-between areas of Samuel Beckett, France's suburban ghettoes, and the postcolonial proto-nations of France's Caribbean territories, this examine emphasizes literature's skill to subtly yet decisively form readers' attitudes towards the area round them, making it attainable to work out such locations now not as faulty or by-product types of tested modes of living yet as laboratories for the methods of lifetime of the following day.

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In a sense, then, “everything is everywhere at all times. 6 Each of the preceding points implies that place is perspectival—that is, it requires the presence of an experiencing subject to be activated as a place. Place is not an objective, material fact there to be discovered but rather an interaction between a physical environment and an active, experiencing agent who both shapes and is shaped by that environment. Such considerations lead Malpas into a careful consideration of the domain of 30 LITERATURE, GEOGRAPHY, AND THE POSTMODERN POETICS OF PLACE subjectivity.

SAMUEL BECKETT AND THE POSTMODERN LOSS OF PLACE 39 We have already seen the importance that Casey and Malpas attribute to the relationship between self and place. In this chapter, I will be pushing that analysis one step further, invoking the work of the neurophenomenologist Francisco Varela to approach this understudied side of Beckett’s work and use it as a way to rethink what it was that Beckett was up to in the second half of his career. The works of this period are often considered minor, but they are, I would argue, crucially important—not only for appreciating the full arc of Beckett’s career but also for getting a sense of the light that Beckett’s unique (and uniquely rigorous) treatment of place sheds on the relationship between mind and world.

All that we can know are those hybrid mixes of consciousness and world known as phenomena. One of the most important early moves that Malpas makes is to emphasize the multiplicity and complexity of place. Rather than treating it as a single monolithic entity, trying to define it univocally—in a single breath, as it were—he prefers to think of place as a conceptual “region” or framework defined by the intersection of the many different sets of concerns that impinge on our experience of place. Place is conceived not as a unitary concept but as a complex network of overlapping elements out of which a coherent image or idea or sense of what place means can be formed.

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