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‘Reading the territory’: Psychogeography and urban intertextuality

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This review article looks at three recent publications that manifest the intertextual nature of psychogeography, focusing on how the influence of place cuts across disciplinary boundaries to critical effect. In London Overground: A Day’s Walk around the Ginger Line (2015), Iain Sinclair continues to harness the oppositional power of conceiving of the city as inherently intertextual. A new volume edited by Tina Richardson, Walking Inside Out: Contemporary British Psychogeography (2015), is largely concerned with psychogeography as method yet its contributions reveal the extent to which the literary character of psychogeography resists supersession. And notwithstanding his disdain for the term, Patrick Keiller’s The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes (2013) is nonetheless suggestive of the mutual imbrication of quotation, literary association and the critique of urban space. Revealing contradictory attitudes towards the literary dimensions of psychogeography, these publications raise timely questions about the capacity of psychogeographical texts and methods to effect social change.
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Keywords: Iain Sinclair; London; Patrick Keiller; influence; intertextuality; psychogeography; walking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of New South Wales

Publication date: 01 June 2016

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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