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Showing posts from July, 2015

Three Notes on Henri Lefebvre

Six months down, four texts in. Although, in my defence, Henri Lefebvre's The Production of Space is a 400+ page opus, and everything always gets wiped by the end of term! Engaging with such a long text is always hard, especially when (as often) it is the sidenotes and digressions which are often most fascinating: an analysis of Venice (pp.73-7), a phenomenology of doors and windows which immediately follows a spatial reading of sleep (pp.208-9), a philosophy of red light districts (pp.319-30) or beaches (p.353, 384)... Yet I think I can break Lefebvre's programme down into three interlinked positions.

1. A Philosophy of Space. Like a number of thinkers in philosophy, geography and critical theory, Lefebvre's central contention is that space is not just a neutral container in which things, acts and events occur, but something made by human beings and societies. Whether it is marks, posts, traces, borders, centres, locales, itineraries, passages, tracks, flows, segments, co…

Research Diary 2/7: After the Conferences

Well, the two conferences are over! They were both brilliant in their own ways, and both held in stunning locations.

1. The Rome Wordsworth paper went well - despite an over-ambitious impromptu preamble which meant I had to rush a little at the end. As for the questions, they weren't too difficult to respond to adequately: helped, I guess, by the facts that the only other Romanticist was sat next to me on the panel, and that I was taking a broadly historicist tack which wasn't entirely in tune with the ongoing dialogue of the conference (which was a shame). Nevertheless, I got interesting points about how we might relate Wordsworth's sense of individual prophetic vocation to generalisable religious experience for others, as well as questions about the long-term history of the 'pray without ceasing' motif.

I think preparing the paper and engaging with the conference discussions in general made me fix, even more than before, a slightly perverse sense that Wordsworth …