On Toponymical Regimes

Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza


A “toponymical regime” describes a certain way of organizing place names within a fictional environment and the design of what can be defined as an “interface” between the text and that which lies outside the text, between the world of the text and the world of the reader. An interface is, fundamentally, a functional connection between distinct material and symbolic domains. If toponyms are points at which the world of fiction and the world of the reader collide, this means that we can describe the zone of contact between them by analyzing the varying degrees of toponymical identification in works of fiction, which are themselves related to distinct authorial strategies, genres, time periods. This means that the arrangement of toponyms within the fictional text transcends the merely functional purpose of providing a historical anchoring or an illusion of place. It is not just the inscription of the world into the work. Therefore, we are impelled to think of the use of place names in fiction in far more complex and provocative ways, possibilities that are only glimpsed in the maps of contemporary literary cartographies


toponyms; place-names; reference; fiction; actual-world; mimesis

Full Text:



Certeau, M. de (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Rendall, S. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Delgado, M. (1999) El animal público. Barcelona: Anagrama.

Finch, J. (2015) ‘Beckett's Manywheres.’ Literary Geographies, 1(1), pp. 7-23.

Jenkins, H. (2012) ‘Cultural Acupuncture: Fan Activism and the Harry Potter Alliance.’ Transformative Works and Cultures, 10. [Online] [accessed 26 June 26 2017] doi:10.3983/twc.2012.0305.

Nicolaisen W. F. H. (1975) ‘The Place-Names of Wessex.’ Literary Onomastics Studies, 2, pp. 58-82.

Nicolaisen, W. F. H. (1979) ‘The Toponymy of Literary Landscapes.’ Literary Onomastics Studies, 6, pp. 75-104.

Westphal, B. (2011) Geocriticism. Real and Fictional Spaces. Trans. Tally, R. T. Jr. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza