Geographies of Nation and Region in Modern European and American Fiction

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CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, Vol: 10, Issue: 3

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Beebee, Thomas O.
Purdue University (bepress); Purdue University Press
Arts and Humanities; Comparative Literature; Critical and Cultural Studies; comparative literature
article description
In his article "Geographies of Nation and Region in Modern European and American Fiction" Thomas O. Beebee proposes that beyond using character, plot, and style, modern fiction also has entertained its readers with mental maps of heterotopias. A mental map is an imaginative representation of place derived from experience or story. Following Michel Foucault, heterotopia is defined as an "other space" both familiar as and different from the real. The "imagined communities" (Anderson) of nation and region are themselves heterotopias that receive confirmation and/or contestation through the discursive territoriality of literary prose. The mental maps of literature participate in the cycle of cultural production, in which readings of texts (in the broadest sense of "text") combine with lived experience and social relations to produce new texts that conform to public genres such as novels, travel narratives, and so forth. For a study-example, the writings of José Maria Arguedas (1911-1967) are analyzed as mental maps that construct a heterotopian vision of the Peruvian nation.