The Work and the World: Mobilities and Literary Space

David McLaughlin


This special section started its life as papers delivered at the American Association of Geographers meeting in 2015, in two panels which broadly considered the relationships between ‘the work and the world’. Those panels explored the various ways in which literatures overspill their textual boundaries and interact with the world. The papers that were delivered together suggested that the space of ‘the work’, or literature, or art, is not necessarily distanced from the spaces of the world. From studies of mobility as a theme in literary representations, to new ways of mapping, and histories of travel and writing, these papers each argue that literary works are necessarily bound up in extra-textual space, and these extra-textual spaces are constituent parts of literature. Joining these papers is a mutual recognition that being mobile is as important as being in place for people’s encounters with fiction. The interactions of mobile people with texts are used by each author as a way to think through the various expressions and consequences of the embodied and experiential act of encountering literature. In this special issue, we consider how the dynamic relationships between reader and text, person and world, can reverberate on literary creation and re-creation. We demonstrate a variety of ways in which the space of literature and literature’s relationship to the extra-textual world are being theorised within the broad church of literary geography.


mobility; travel; space of literature; actual-world; representation

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Copyright (c) 2016 David McLaughlin