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University of Tokyo & Swansea University

Academic literary geography today is often explained in terms of aggregation: literature and geography; texts and places; literary studies and human geography. While these X+Y formulations usefully suggest the interdisciplinary range of the field, they less helpfully reinforce the idea that both the subject matter and the practice of literary geography depend on the stitching together of separate things. As a result, contemporary definitions of literary geography typically emphasise intersections and interactions and interdisciplinarity while dodging the question of whether there is an identifiable object of inquiry specific to the field itself. The term ‘interspatiality’ has been designed to cut through this X+Y problem. Merging a geographical definition of ‘spatiality’ (as a way of talking about the social-spatial), and a literary understanding of ‘intertextuality’ (as a way of talking about texts as nodes in relational spatial networks), interspatiality is a way of naming the implied subject focus of much contemporary work in the field: the inseparability of writing, reading and geography. The main theme of this talk on literary geography and interspatiality, then, is the idea that understandings of what literary geography is, does, and can do might usefully be reconfigured by a move away from the current emphasis on the accretion and interaction of separate things and towards a focus on an inhabited world in which the social, the spatial, and the textual are routinely and inextricably fused.


Sheila Hones is a literary geographer, a professor emerita of The University of Tokyo, and an honorary research fellow at Swansea University. She is one of the editors of the online journal, Literary Geographies, and co-editor for the book series, Literary Geography: Theory and Practice (University of Wales Press). She is the author of Literary Geographies: Narrative Space in Let the Great World Spin (2014) and Literary Geography (2021, Routledge New Critical Idiom). Her next book, Interspatiality: Inhabiting Literary Geography, will be published in 2024.



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