Cartographic Strategies of Postmodernity
The Figure of the Map in Contemporary Theory and Fiction
Routledge – 2007 – 192 pages
The last fifty years have witnessed the growing pervasiveness of the figure of the map in critical, theoretical, and fictional discourse. References to mapping and cartography are endemic in poststructuralist theory, and, similarly, geographically and culturally diverse authors of twentieth-century fiction seem fixated upon mapping. While the map metaphor has been employed for centuries to highlight issues of textual representation and epistemology, the map metaphor itself has undergone a transformation in the postmodern era. This metamorphosis draws together poststructuralist conceptualizations of epistemology, textuality, cartography, and metaphor, and signals a shift away from modernist preoccupations with temporality and objectivity to a postmodern pragmatics of spatiality and subjectivity. Cartographic Strategies of Postmodernity charts this metamorphosis of cartographic metaphor, and argues that the ongoing reworking of the map metaphor renders it a formative and performative metaphor of postmodernity.
"Cartographic Strategies of Postmodernity is one of the most impressive pieces of scholarly work I have read in years. It is strikingly innovative—and that is no mean trick given that the topic has been much discussed recently. What makes this study so important—that is, such a major contribution to the field—is its remarkable combination of meticulous research, wide philosophical scope (from Descartes through to Baudrillard), theoretical sophistication (regarding theorists ranging from Benjamin to Foucault), and what I can only call brilliant close readings of literary texts. I should add that, to my knowledge, this is the first full and serious study of the postmodern cartographic imagination and it is certainly the first to set it in its rich historical and theoretical context. . . . When it is published, as I am certain it will be, it will make its (large) mark on the (large) field of postmodern studies." --Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto
"Cartographic Strategies of Modernity counts among the most telling treatments of cartography, metaphor, and space available in English. It is complete in itself, of a totality that it might prefer not to own but for which every one of its readers will be grateful. . . . it is a guide, indeed a viaticum, for the reading of space in contemporary theory and fiction." --Tom Conley, Professor of Romance Languages and Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University
"This is an exciting book addressing the changing spatiality of literature in current times. An innovative account of the ‘spatial turn’ and its significance in contemporary cultural studies, using cartographic metaphor and practice to illuminate current theorisation. It develops a leading account of the blending of cartographic and literary imaginaries in postmodern culture, offering an exciting journey in which the social theory of representation is reframed by locating its spatial performativity. It will be an asset to readers in fields from literary studies, to cultural studies to geography." --Mike Crang, Reader in Geography, Durham University
List of Illustrations Preface Introduction: Text–Map–Metaphor 1. A Genealogy of Cartography, A Genealogy of Space 2. Subjectivity: The Cartographer as Nomad 3. Mapping the Labyrinth: Twentieth-Century Cartography and the City 4. Metamorphoses of the Map. Notes Bibliography
Peta Mitchell is a lecturer in the School of English, Media Studies, and Art History at The University of Queensland.