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Defining Geopoetics

Federico Italiano

Résumés

Comme la notion de "Paysage", portion du monde coïncidant avec l’« Anschauungsraum » du sujet (l’« espace de l’intuition » phénoménologique), ne peut plus être appliquée de manière adéquate aux textes littéraires dotés d’une structure topologique complexe et de références géographiques hétérogènes, nous proposons d’introduire le concept de « Géopoétique ». En tant que catégorie opérative, la « Géopoétique » nous permet de comprendre et d’analyser la dimension territoriale, géographique et géo-écologique d’un texte littéraire. Par « Géopoétique », nous désignons la conscience géographique particulière, la connaissance territoriale, qui est une individualisation du rapport Homme-Terre, telle qu’elle ressort des textes littéraires, et qui transcende tous les cadres limitatifs de la perception, surpassant les frontières phénoménologiques de l’« Anschauungsraum ».

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Texte intégral

I

1When reading and commenting on a poem of a high semantic complexity due to its topological structure and the presence of many heterogeneous geographical references, we often use the familiar notion ‘Landscape’, presumably for lack of alternative concepts. The text – we suppose – represents a place, a precise portion of the Real: we are reading –supposing further – about a Landscape, a Landschaft, a paysage, a paesaggio. Although in many cases, especially in the textual basin of European Romanticism, this aesthetic notion does get to the point – such is the case in famous examples like Leopardi’s and Wordsworth’s countrysides – for many other literary texts, particularly those of the symbolist or modernist matrix, such a terminology seems to be inadequate, a metaphorical escapade rather than a fulfilling operative category.

  • 1  Guido Gozzano, Le farfalle. Epistole entomologiche [1914], in: Idem, Le poesie [1973], a cura di E (...)
  • 2  Ibid., pp. 242-254

2We don’t have to go far to encounter this semasiological problem. Let’s consider two modern classics of the 20th century: Guido Gozzano and Francis Ponge. Could we really speak of a ‘Landscape’ for the Epistole entomologiche or Le parti pris de choses? When Gozzano penetrates, with his blank endecasillabi, into the ephemeral anatomy, into the ethological particularities and survival strategies, into the tragic and marvellous life-parable of an Ornithoptera pronomus1 or a Macroglossa stellatarum,2 even when he describes flowers, fields, courtyards and villas, is he truly painting a ‘Landscape’? Gozzano uses obvious topological structures, elaborates models of the pastoral tradition and converts the locus amoenus into a real rustic biotope; nevertheless it would be difficult to recognize in those poems what we could call a Landscape, namely the aesthetical organization of a homogeneous segment of nature, a uniform portion of the world, according to the projection of the perceiving subject. To Gozzano, the Landscape doesn’t matter, but the biosphere in general does, that biotic belt between the litho- and the atmosphere.

  • 3  Francis Ponge, Le Galet, in: Idem, Le parti pris de choses, Paris, 1942, pp. 92-101.

3The same could be said about Ponge. In one of his best known works, Le Galet,3 the French poet composes a modern, synthetic cosmogony as a new Lucretius: he narrates the story of a galet, of a pebble, from the expulsion of the planets from the Sun to the cooling of the Earth and through erosion, disclosing the bio-spherical and hydro-geological mysteries of Gaia’s surface. Even if this text abounds in references to nature, we can use the notion of Landscape only in a metaphorical way, without touching the core of Ponge’s poetics.

  • 4  Jean-Paul Sartre, “L'homme et le chose”, in: Idem, Situation I, Paris, 1947, p. 245-293.

4Sartre defined Ponge as a phenomenologist of nature: “Ponge poète [...] a jeté les bases d'une Phénoménologie de la Nature”.4 He would have probably applied the same definition to Gozzano. Yet if we were to assume such a perspective, we would soon find ourselves in a further terminological impasse: by reducing or moving the matter to a purely philosophical field, we would deny a fundamental achievement of literary theory, namely the recognition of the independence of literature as a specific artistic activity, distinct from any other form of writing, be it religious, philosophical, political, scientific, etc.  

5To solve this not only terminological but theoretical impasse, we propose to introduce the concept of Geopoetics, which, as an operative category, enables us to comprehend and to analyse the territorial, geographical and geo-ecological dimension of a literary text – and finally the aesthetically encoded relationship between man and Earth.

II

6Kenneth White, a Scottish-French Poet, coined the term “géopoétique”, Geopoetics, in autumn 1979, sketching it briefly in his diary. Ten years later, the same White raised the newborn word to the heights of an Institute, founding the “Institut international de Géopoétique”.

  • 5  Quoted in Bosko Tomaševic,  “Un approche de la géopoétique whitienne”, in: Le Monde ouvert de Kenn (...)

Si, vers 1978, j’ai commencé à parler de "géopoétique", c’est, d’une part, parce que la terre (la biosphère) était, de toute évidence, de plus en plus menacée, et qu’il fallait s’en préoccuper d’une manière à la fois profonde et efficace, d’autre part, parce qu’il m’était toujours apparu que la poétique la plus riche venait d’un contact avec la terre, d’une plongée dans l’espace biosphérique [...]5    

  • 6  Erika Schellenberger-Diederich, Geopoetik. Studien zur Metaphorik des Gestein in der Lyrik von Höl (...)

7The way White uses this concept is obviously more slogan-like than scientific. He professes Geopoetics with the tunes and emphasis of a manifesto, vividly expressing his wish for an ecological, an Earth-oriented literature. Even if his statement sounds like a mostly noble endeavour, his private Poetics’ character precludes a proper application to literary analysis. However, the term has experienced evident success in recent academic works. Literary scholars including Erika Schellenberger-Diederich, Joan Brandt and Fernando Aínsa adopted the term even in the title of their treaties.6 Astonishingly, none of them tried to formulate an even cursory definition.

  • 7  On the nature of prefixoid and suffixoid, see Bruno Migliorini, “I prefissoidi (il tipo aeromobile (...)

8An explication for such a strange phenomenon may be found in the lexical relationship between Geopoetics and previous and familiar lemmas, such as Geopolitics, Geohistoire and, more recently, Geophilosophy, the scientific definition of which benefits from a longer tradition. Regardless of the complex and sometimes contradictory chronicle of such tradition, those lexical morphemes, just as Geopoetics, are erudite compounds, weaved with formative elements from Greek or Latin. Those elements, prefixoids or suffixoids according to their position in a lexeme,7 can specify or create new significations, when mixed with each other (as in geography or biology) or affixed to lexeme unities.

  • 8  On the notion of explicit and implicit poetics, see Luciano Anceschi, Gli specchi della poesia, To (...)

9In our case, the prefixoid ‘geo-’ specifies the noun ‘-poetics’. The item Poetics (ποιητική) displays an amphibian character from Aristotle to now: we can understand it both in an ontological and in an epistemological way.  In the first case (a), poetics defines the norms and constants which regulate the literary work of one author (or a group/movement), both in their general reflection about Literature per se (explicit poetics) and in the modalities of their own artistic production (implicit poetics).8 In the second case (b), poetics –very concisely– is the study and analysis of (a), it is the scientific approach to the problems and questions that a poem, a novel, a drama raises. In the compound Geo-poetics, we should obviously read the morpheme “-poetics” in its ontological sense – although it’s clear that everything we craft in this direction belongs to (b) one way or another.

10A prefixoid is a prefix endowed with semantic autonomy. Its function consists in specifying, buttressing or even overruling the signification of the affixed lexical unity. The prefixoid ‘geo-’ doesn’t overturn the signification of poetics but sharpens it, defining a particular field of interest. ‘Geo-’, from Greek γη = Earth, implies, whenever it occurs, something telluric or close to the semantic field of Earth. The best known example is the noun Geography, where our prefixoid is affixed to the Greek verb graphein (γράφειν) = writing or drawing. The result of such a morpheme alliance could be described as the ‘Drawing of the Earth’ or ‘Earth-Drawing’. Still, we cannot take for granted the underlying meaning of that lexeme: what does it really imply to draw of/on the Earth? What is the proper object of geographical drawing? Today, as it was for Eratosthenes and Strabo, the main geographical challenge consists of recognizing the reason why we connect some places, landscapes and territories with specific names, values and significations. From the mythical and prophetical geography of ancient traditional societies whose values rooted in a mythopoeic and religious knowledge, through the ‘scientific turn’ in the 19th century – stimulated by geographers and naturalists such as Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter, who renewed the geographical studies following the Galileian empirical method of observation and analysis of natural phenomena –, comparison with the concept of geography shows a curious return to its etymological content in the late 20th century, elevating description and the strategies of narration – ‘writing’ in its deepest sense – to the rank of methodology.

  • 9  Clifford Geertz, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”, in: Idem, The Inte (...)
  • 10  On imagination as epistemological perspective within geographical studies, see Claude Raffestin, “ (...)
  • 11  See Claude Raffestin, “Punti di riferimento per una teoria della territorialità umana”, in: Esiste (...)

11Based, among other things, on Geertz’s notion of “thick description”,9 this contemporary humanistic perspective perceives Geography as an “imagination”10 of the world, as drawing of and discourse on the world, taking us back to the original semantic content of the verb γράφειν. The human being, affirms Claude Raffestin quoting Hans-Georg Gadamer, “è un animale semiologico”, whose territoriality is conditioned by language and sign systems, and therefore “procede, in qualche modo, alla costruzione linguistica del mondo”11. If imagination is the human faculty on which geographical thought is based, then every human being possesses consequently a sort of geographical consciousness. As Jean-Marc Besse said, there are two kinds of geography, which means: geography is and will remain an ambiguous science.

  • 12  Jean-Marc Besse, Face au monde. Atlas, jardins, géoramas. Paris, 2003, p. 7-8.

La géographie est une science ambiguë. Il est possible, en effet, de la considérer d'abord comme une discipline qui cherche à représenter la surface de la Terre et, plus précisément, à faire connaître aux hommes les milieux naturels, les formes et les divisions territoriales, les organisations et les pratiques spatiales, qui structurent et déterminent en partie leur existence terrestre. En cela, la géographie est un moment de cet effort général de conceptualisation et d'esplication des réalités que l'on désigne sous nom de savoir scientifique. / Mais il existe aussi une autre géographie, un autre savoir de la Terre, plus intime peut-être, qui traduit une intelligence quotidienne du monde, de ses aspérités et de ses grandeurs, une géographie vécue autant que pensée. Cette seconde géographie, qui est, plutôt qu'une science au sens noble de ce terme, une manière d'être dans l'espace et une façon de le penser, ou, pour le dire autrement, cette «conscience géographique», a pris de formes variables au cours de l'histoire.12

12It is exactly that “conscience géographique”, that intimate and subjective Geography, that territorial knowledge as daily intelligence of the world, which makes the real sense of the prefixoid ‘geo-’ in the lexeme Geopoetics. The Geopoetics of an author is to be understood as his territorial intelligence, poetic and imagining ability for producing and constructing a world, his characteristic determination and presentation of the relation Man – Earth.

III

13After this semasiological tour through Geopoetics, we should conclude our definition of the term and its notion by contrasting it with what seems to be its closest relative, the Landscape. Both, Geopoetics and Landscape, are aesthetic categories, both are active and operable in literary texts: so what about the risk that the newcomer unmasks itself as a duplicate? Does not Geopoetics overlap and coincide with Landscape? Hence, first of all we should clarify the notion of Landscape and how literary scholars, philosophers and geographers understand it.

  • 13  See Franco Lando, “Geografia e letteratura: immagine e immaginazione”, premessa a Fatto e Finzione(...)

14Landscape is doubtlessly a subjective phenomenon, the product of an imagining and constructing subject, strongly dependent on its culture and history. Even those famous wordsworthian cliffs and plots of cottage-ground, the sycamore tree and the hedge-rows were not Landscape per se, but they became Landscape only as soon as a perceiving subject started looking at them, as soon as they became part of the subject’s de visu experience, entering its “spazio dello sguardo”13. Thus, Landscape is an expression, the sensible expression of the interaction between man and nature. As the Italian geographer Eugenio Turri said:

  • 14  Eugenio Turri, Antropologia del paesaggio, Milano, 1974, p. 53.

Nel paesaggio, come espressione sensibile dell'ambiente in cui agisce, l'uomo ritrova gran parte delle manifestazioni esterne che lo guidano psicologicamente e materialmente; in esso inoltre ritrova oggettivati i segni e le opere che egli realizza.14

  • 15  Cr. Ernst Gombrich, “The Renaissance Theory of Art and the Rise of Landscape”, in Norm and Form: S (...)

15The notion of Landscape is deeply interweaved with the aesthetic sphere, with the sphere of perception. As a matter of fact, Landscape is a terminus technicus coined within the World of Arts, whose terminological motor has been the Dutch item landschap. From the original meaning of ‘portion, tract of land’, it was in relation to Nordic landscape painting that the term gained the notion of a ‘picture representing a scenery on land’ in the 15th century. Afterward, that characteristic thirst for space which distinguished the Renaissance formed the perfect aesthetic and geopolitical context for the invention of perspective, establishing the landscape painting genre and popularizing in every European idiom its typical definition, that is Landscape, paysage, paesaggio, paysaje, Landschaft etc15. But to linger on the extremely detailed history of Landscape could take us far away from our purpose. To understand the difference between Geopoetics and Landscape, it may be enough to explain briefly the literary landscape from a phenomenological point of view.

  • 16  “Unter Natur verstehen wir den endlosen Zusammenhang der Dinge, das ununterbrochene Gebären und Ve (...)
  • 17  “Der erheblichste Träger dieser Einheit ist wohl das, was man die »Stimmung« der Landschaft nennt. (...)
  • 18  “Wo wir wirklich Landschaft und nicht mehr eine Summe einzelner Naturgegenstände sehen, haben wir (...)

16One of the first modern definitions of Landscape, but still of epistemological interest, is that of Georg Simmel, from his essay “Philosophie der Landschaft” (1912). For the German sociologist and philosopher, the constitutive act of the Landscape is an act of delimitation, a spiritual act, through which the perceiving subject determines a separation, a subdivision in the infinite flux of Nature16. Landscape is thus for Simmel the result of the subject’s contemplation, first optical and then spiritual, of a portion of nature. What guarantees the unity and homogeneity of such contemplation is the “Stimmung”, an entity which Simmel defines as the correlate of the unification process, positioned between the diverse objects of nature and the imagination of the subject17. There is no Landscape without this global, unitary vision of nature, but Landscape – Simmel repeats it many times – is not nature. Nature, however, has to be seen as a completely different totality in comparison with the unity of Landscape. Landscape is situated in an intermediate sphere, between the particular and the general, the finite and infinite: it is particular in comparison with nature and total in comparison with individual things. But that doesn’t revoke its quality of being a portion, a segment – on the contrary: Landscape, work of art in statu nascendi18, remains for Simmel an aesthetic delimitation of nature, a segment, the unity of which was chosen and valued by the perceiving subject.

  • 19  “Jede äußere Wahrnehmung führt ihre aktuelle räumliche Gegenwart und in ihr den absoluten Nullpunk (...)
  • 20  See Edmund Husserl,  “Kopernikanische Umwendung der Kopernikanischen Umwendung. Die Ur-Arche Erde” (...)
  • 21  Edmund Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaft und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, D (...)
  • 22  “Das Subjekt erschöpft sich in seinen leiblichen Leistungen nicht im tätigen Umgang mit den Dingen (...)

17From the Simmelian conception of Landscape emerges a typical phenomenological aspect: the relation of I to world – or subject – to object. Landscape is, first of all, a selective perception of the perceiving subject. That is a fundamental statement of phenomenology: every phenomenon is a phenomenon for an I, for a subject. The real place of Landscape – we could say then with Husserl – lies in the perception, in the own “Leib” of the observer, in the absolute zero-point of the here19. In relation to that “Hier”, every other object is “dort”. From that point descends a second clear statement: perception is always a perception of something. For Husserl, the actuality of our perception obtains a well determined place, an “Ort”, that is our Earth. Husserl doesn’t intend such a place as a national idea of homeland, but as “Boden-Form”, as form of the transcendental soil20. That soil is the conditio sine qua non of perception. It also implies that, in the intuitive and oriented space, the body, the “Leib” of the perceiver (his corporality) is exactly what determines the relation subject-object. The central position of the subject, its being in the centre of space, Räumlichkeit, automatically creates proximities and distances, close ups and backgrounds. Starting out from the Husserlian concept of ‘Lebenswelt’ – “Universalfeld, in das alle unsere Akte, erfahrende, erkennende, handelnde hineingerichtet sind”21 – Elisabeth Ströker postulates the existence not only of a “gelebtem Raum” (Durkheim), of a lived space, but also of an “Anschauungsraum”, the space of intuition, not coincident but coexistent and complementary with the space of acting, the so-called “Aktionsraum” or “Handelsraum”22.

  • 23  See Roberto Assunto, Il paesaggio e l'estetica, 2 vol., Napoli, 1973; Landschaft. Hrsg. von Manfre (...)

18This phenomenological perspective still influences the whole of landscape research, both in geographical and aesthetical contexts23. The most recent and incisive attempts of defining ‘Landscape’ recognize, almost without exception, subjectivity as its primary instance – that phenomenological “perceiving I” as zero-point of every experience. Only through the encounter of subjectivity and world, or rather, a part of it, as a given segment of nature, can a Landscape emerge. Both elements are constitutive for the Landscape – which is not ‘already there’, nor a simple registration of realia, but a production of space, a fruit of imagination, an aesthetical construction. Therefore it is not by chance that the community of landscape researchers see the birth of modern Landscape in Petrarca, since he showed in his Canzoniere, for the first time in the history of literature, the vibrating sensations of a subject who observes and lives his Umwelt, his own and real environment, rather than repeating the ornamental description of a static and codified nature as known from Greek and Latin poetry.

  • 24  Michel Jakob, Paesaggio e letteratura, Firenze, 2005, p. 103.

La proiezione reciproca di Laura sulla natura e della natura su Laura è un atto estetico, che muove dal soggetto (libero)  – il quale cerca ovunque un luogo adatto alle sue proiezioni – e che riesce là dove improvvisamente, nel movimento attraverso la natura, giungono a fondersi gli elementi della natura e gli elementi dell'immaginazione. Per questo, nell'opera lirica di Petrarca la natura non è un motivo (bucolico, sentimentale) tra gli altri e nemmeno un bell'ornamento della bella amata; il Petrarca è, da questo punto di vista, fondamentalmente moderno e supera in tutto i suoi predecessori.24

19For Petrarca, as opposed to Virgil and Dante, Landscape implies the primacy of view and the necessity of interpretation. His relation with nature is dialogical, an aesthetic relationship between a perceptible world and a finite subject. With Petrarca, Landscape is not anymore that

  • 25  Ibid., p. 42.

ideale coltivato e addomesticato delle visioni edeniche e delle utopie bucoliche (locus amoenus), né il segno allegorico dell'assenza di Dio e della desolazione (locus terribilis), ma una realtà che occorre interpretare.25

  • 26  See Vincenzo Bagnoli, Lo spazio del testo. Paesaggio e conoscenza nella modernità letteraria, Bolo (...)
  • 27  “Landschaft ist zu bestimmen als das Korrelat einer besonderen Einstellung auf Natur, als eine spe (...)
  • 28  Here it seems necessary to point out that only the author of Canzoniere is meant and not the autho (...)

20Landscape, with its proximities and distances, whit its depth and size, is therefore sight’s expression par excellence. Its articulated structure is not that of a simple object: looking at the world is evidently something else then observing an object. The gaze upon Landscape is a form of comprehending the world26. Landscape, we could say, is the sight of a sight: the organization per images, the “Gestaltqualität” that the subject gains in its world interpretation27. If Landscape is the correlate of a specific (subjective) disposition toward nature – as Eckhard Lobsien says – we should consequently handle such an aesthetic category very carefully, especially in concomitance with a literary analysis, first of all from a historic-philological point of view. If it’s true, for example, that Petrarca was the inventor of the modern Landscape28, it is also true that, after him, we will have a regression to the codex of classical poetry, to a vision of allegorical and pre-packaged nature. That period of post-Petrarcan lethargy – in which the exceptions are very rare, such as that of English Local Poetry, with poems like John Denham’s Cooper’s Hill – will end only in the 18th century, with the philosophical rediscovery of the subject, with Rousseau’s Nouvelle Héloïse and Goethe’s Werther, finding finally its mature expression in European romanticism.

IV

21In accordance with what we have just affirmed, we can now consider the literary landscape as a semantic fixation of an experienced portion of world, a homogenous segment of nature, which coincides with the subject’s “Anschauungsraum”, the phenomenological “space of intuition”. But it is exactly at this point that we can discern the most obvious difference between Landscape and Geopoetics. With the concept ‘Geopoetics’, we mean that particularly geographical consciousness, that territorial knowledge which is individualization of the nexus Man - Earth, as it emerges from a literary texts, and that transcends every limiting frame of perception, surpassing the phenomenological borders of the “Anschauungsraum”. This implies an infinite faculty of combinations of representations: A text should not offer a homogeneous and coherent portion of place to become interesting from a geopoetic point of view. Each literary text compound of elements, which have reference to that prefixoid ‘geo-’, is consequently susceptible to a geopoetic interpretation. On the other hand, it is also true that such geopoetic elements – as, for example, topographical, mineralogical, zoological, anthropological, botanical etc. references – abound in literary landscape. Following that line of argument, we could say that our notion of Geopoetics doesn’t exclude that of Landscape, it encompasses it, includes it, although the latter does conserve its own identity. In the model of Euler-Venn, we could put the issue in the following graphic terms:

Scheme of inclusion relation

Scheme of inclusion relation

22B is a subset of A, or A includes B, although B doesn’t coincide with A. If we take A as the not empty set (x indicates the presence of elements) ‘Geopoetics’ and B as the not empty set of ‘Literary Landscape' (the cross-hatched part indicates absence of elements), every element of B belongs to A, even if not every element of A belongs to B. The graph displays how the concept of the Landscape, maintaining its identity (i.e., we could imagine the existence of B regardless of the presence of A) is logically included in the concept of Geopoetics.

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Bibliographie

Aínsa, Fernando, Del Topos al logos: propuestas de geopoética, Madrid, 2006.

Anceschi, Luciano, Gli specchi della poesia, Torino, 1989.

Assunto, Roberto, Il paesaggio e l'estetica, 2 vol., Napoli, 1973.

Bagnoli, Vincenzo, Lo spazio del testo. Paesaggio e conoscenza nella modernità letteraria, Bologna, 2003.

Besse, Jean-Marc, Face au monde. Atlas, jardins, géoramas. Paris, 2003.

Brandt, Joan, Geopoetics. The Politics of Mimesis in Poststructuralist French Poetry and Theory, Stanford CA, 1997.

Geertz, Clifford, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”, in: Idem, The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays. New York, 1973, pp. 3-30.

Gombrich, Ernst, “The Renaissance Theory of Art and the Rise of Landscape”, in Norm and Form: Studies in the Art of the Renaissance I, Chicago, 1966, pp. 107-121.

Gozzano, Guido, Le farfalle. Epistole entomologiche [1914], in: Idem, Le poesie [1973], a cura di Edoardo Sanguineti, Torino, 1990.

Groh, Dieter, Groh, Ruth, Die Aussenwelt der Innenwelt. Zur Kulturgeschichte der Natur II, Frankfurt a. M., 1995.

Husserl, Edmund, Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. Hrsg. von  M. Fleischer, Husserliana XI, Den Haag, 1966.

________,“Kopernikanische Umwendung der Kopernikanischen Umwendung. Die Ur-Arche Erde”, in: Raumtheorien. Grundlagentexte aus Philosophie und Kulturwissenschaft. Hrsg. Jörg Dünne und Stephan Günzel, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, pp. 153-164.

________, Erfahrung und Urteil. Untersuchung zur Genealogie der Logik [1939], Hamburg, 1999.

________, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaft und die transzendentale Phänomenologie. Hrsg. von W. Biemel, Husserliana VI, Den Haag, 1962.

Jakob, Michel, Paesaggio e letteratura, Firenze, 2005.

Lando, Franco, “Geografia e letteratura: immagine e immaginazione”, premessa a Fatto e Finzione, a cura di F. Lando, Milano, 1993, pp. 1-16.

Lobsien, Eckhard, Landschaft in Texten. Zur Geschichte und Phänomenologie literarischer Beschreibung, Stuttgart, 1984.

Migliorini, Bruno, “I prefissoidi (il tipo aeromobile, radiodiffusione)”, in: idem, Saggi sulla lingua del Novecento. Firenze, 1963, pp. 9-60.

Ponge, Francis, Le parti pris de choses, Paris, 1942.

Raffestin, Claude, “L’imagination géographique”, in: Géotopiques, Genève, Lausanne, vol. 1, 1983, pp. 25-43.

________, “Punti di riferimento per una teoria della territorialità umana”, in: Esistere ed abitare. Prospettive umanistiche nella geografia francofona. A cura di C. Copeta, Milano, 1986, pp. 75-89.

Sartre, Jean-Paul, “L'homme et le chose”, in: Idem, Situation I, Paris, 1947, pp. 245-293.

Schellenberger-Diederich, Erika, Geopoetik. Studien zur Metaphorik des Gestein in der Lyrik von Hölderlin bis Celan, Bielefeld, 2006.  

Simmel, Georg, “Philosophie der Landschaft”, [1912], in: Idem, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen. 1909-1918, Band I. Hrsg. Von R. Kramme und A. Rammstedt, Frankfurt a M., 2001, pp. 471-492.

Smuda, Manfred (Hrsg.), Landschaft. Frankfurt a. M., 1986.

________, “Natur als ästhetischer Gegenstand und als Gegenstand der Ästhetik. Zur Konstruktion von Landschaft”, in: Idem (Hrsg.), Landschaft. Frankfurt a. M., 1986, pp. 44-69.

Ströker, Elisabeth, Philosophische Untersuchungen zum Raum, Frankfurt a. M., 1965.

Turri, Eugenio, Antropologia del paesaggio, Milano, 1974.

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Notes

1  Guido Gozzano, Le farfalle. Epistole entomologiche [1914], in: Idem, Le poesie [1973], a cura di Edoardo Sanguineti, Torino, 1990, pp. 232-235.

2  Ibid., pp. 242-254

3  Francis Ponge, Le Galet, in: Idem, Le parti pris de choses, Paris, 1942, pp. 92-101.

4  Jean-Paul Sartre, “L'homme et le chose”, in: Idem, Situation I, Paris, 1947, p. 245-293.

5  Quoted in Bosko Tomaševic,  “Un approche de la géopoétique whitienne”, in: Le Monde ouvert de Kenneth White. Essais et témoignages réunis par Michèle Duclos, Bordeaux, 1995, p. 85.

6  Erika Schellenberger-Diederich, Geopoetik. Studien zur Metaphorik des Gestein in der Lyrik von Hölderlin bis Celan, Bielefeld, 2006;  Joan Brandt, Geopoetics. The Politics of Mimesis in Poststructuralist French Poetry and Theory, Stanford CA, 1997; Fernando Aínsa, Del Topos al logos: propuestas de geopoética, Madrid, 2006.

7  On the nature of prefixoid and suffixoid, see Bruno Migliorini, “I prefissoidi (il tipo aeromobile, radiodiffusione)”, in: idem, Saggi sulla lingua del Novecento. Firenze, 1963, pp. 9-60.

8  On the notion of explicit and implicit poetics, see Luciano Anceschi, Gli specchi della poesia, Torino, 1989, pp. 38f.

9  Clifford Geertz, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”, in: Idem, The Interpretation of Cultures. Selected Essays. New York, 1973, pp. 3-30.

10  On imagination as epistemological perspective within geographical studies, see Claude Raffestin, “L’imagination géographique”, in: Géotopiques, Genève, Lausanne, vol. 1, 1983, pp. 25-43.

11  See Claude Raffestin, “Punti di riferimento per una teoria della territorialità umana”, in: Esistere ed abitare. Prospettive umanistiche nella geografia francofona. A cura di C. Copeta, Milano, 1986, p. 76.

12  Jean-Marc Besse, Face au monde. Atlas, jardins, géoramas. Paris, 2003, p. 7-8.

13  See Franco Lando, “Geografia e letteratura: immagine e immaginazione”, premessa a Fatto e Finzione, a cura di F. Lando, Milano, 1993, pp. 1-16.

14  Eugenio Turri, Antropologia del paesaggio, Milano, 1974, p. 53.

15  Cr. Ernst Gombrich, “The Renaissance Theory of Art and the Rise of Landscape”, in Norm and Form: Studies in the Art of the Renaissance I, Chicago, 1966, pp. 107-121.

16  “Unter Natur verstehen wir den endlosen Zusammenhang der Dinge, das ununterbrochene Gebären und Vernichten von Formen, die flutende Einheit des Geschehens, die sich in der Kontinuität der zeitlichen und räumlichen Existenz ausdrückt”. G. Simmel, “Philosophie der Landschaft”, [1912], in: Idem, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen. 1909-1918, Band I. Hrsg. Von R. Kramme und A. Rammstedt, Frankfurt a M., 2001, p. 471.

17  “Der erheblichste Träger dieser Einheit ist wohl das, was man die »Stimmung« der Landschaft nennt. Denn wie wir unter Stimmung eines Menschen das Einheitliche verstehen, das dauernd oder für jetzt die Gesamtheit seiner seelischen Einzelinhalte färbt, nicht selbst etwas Einzelnes, oft auch nicht an einem Einzelnen angebbar haftend, und doch das Allgemeine, worin all dies Einzelne jetzt sich trifft - so durchdringt die Stimmung der Landschaft alle ihre einzelnen Elemente, oft ohne dass man ein einzelnes für sie haftbar machen könnte; in einer schwer bezeichenbaren Weise hat ein jedes an ihr teil - aber sie besteht weder außerhalb dieser Beiträge, noch ist sie aus ihnen zusammengesetzt”. Ibid., pp. 478-479.

18  “Wo wir wirklich Landschaft und nicht mehr eine Summe einzelner Naturgegenstände sehen, haben wir ein Kunstwerk in statu nascendi”. Ibidem, p. 477.

19  “Jede äußere Wahrnehmung führt ihre aktuelle räumliche Gegenwart und in ihr den absoluten Nullpunkt des Hier mit sich. Er liegt erscheinungsmässig in dem eigenen Leib des Wahrnehmenden”. Edmund Husserl, Analysen zur passiven Synthesis. Hrsg. von  M. Fleischer, Den Haag, 1966, Husserliana II, p. 297f.

20  See Edmund Husserl,  “Kopernikanische Umwendung der Kopernikanischen Umwendung. Die Ur-Arche Erde”, in: Raumtheorien. Grundlagentexte aus Philosophie und Kulturwissenschaft. Hrsg.  Jörg Dünne und Stephan Günzel, Frankfurt a. M. 2006, p. 153-164. See also:  E. Husserl, Erfahrung und Urteil. Untersuchung zur Genealogie der Logik [1939], Hamburg, 1999, p. 189.

21  Edmund Husserl, Die Krisis der europäischen Wissenschaft und die transzendentale Phänomenologie, Den Haag, 1962, p. 147.

22  “Das Subjekt erschöpft sich in seinen leiblichen Leistungen nicht im tätigen Umgang mit den Dingen; sein Funktionsraum geht nicht darin auf, lediglich Aktionsraum zu sein. Der Leib ist außer seiner Funktionseinheit zielgerichteter Aktionen zugleich Einheit der Sinnesleistungen, er ist nicht nur handelnder, sonder auch sinnlich anschauender Leib”. Elisabeth Ströker, Philosophische Untersuchungen zum Raum, Frankfurt a. M., 1965, p. 93.

23  See Roberto Assunto, Il paesaggio e l'estetica, 2 vol., Napoli, 1973; Landschaft. Hrsg. von Manfred Smuda, Frankfurt a. M., 1986, where I would like to particularly point out the essay of Bernhard Waldenfels, “Gänge durch die Landschaft”, a plaidoyer for a Landscape seen in a dynamic and ambulatory way, pp. 29-43 and the essay of Smuda, “Natur als ästhetischer Gegenstand und als Gegenstand der Ästhetik. Zur Konstruktion von Landschaft”, pp. 44-69, which is interesting for clarifying the relation between Nature and Landscape, realia and aesthetical construct. Moreover, for his phenonomenological setting-out and his focus on literature, see Eckhard Lobsien, Landschaft in Texten. Zur Geschichte und Phänomenologie literarischer Beschreibung, Stuttgart, 1984.

24  Michel Jakob, Paesaggio e letteratura, Firenze, 2005, p. 103.

25  Ibid., p. 42.

26  See Vincenzo Bagnoli, Lo spazio del testo. Paesaggio e conoscenza nella modernità letteraria, Bologna, 2003, pp. 20-21.

27  “Landschaft ist zu bestimmen als das Korrelat einer besonderen Einstellung auf Natur, als eine spezifische Weise, die Welt zu sehen und zu verarbeiten. Die erkundende Wahrnehmung der Gegenstände wird, ungeachtet ihrer prinzipiellen Unabschließbarkeit, an einem bestimmten Punkt arretiert, und so wie der Landschaftsmaler sein Motiv festlegt, so wählt auch der Landschaftsbetrachter  ein Segment aus dem sich ständig wandelnden Wahrnehmungsfeld. Nur durch die Festlegung eines solchen Segment kann Natur als Landschaft eine Gestaltqualität gewinnen, stimmungsmäßig besetzt werden, kurz: in einen ästhetischen Gegenstand transformiert werden”. Lobsien, Landschaft in Texten. Zur Geschichte und Phänomenologie literarischer Beschreibung, Stuttgart, 1984, p. 18.

28  Here it seems necessary to point out that only the author of Canzoniere is meant and not the author of the Epistle Fam. IV. 1. (Petrarca’s famous letter about the ascent of Mont Ventoux), where the German scholar Jakob Burckardt thought to see the very petrarchian invention of Landscape. As Ruth and Dieter Groh have brilliantly shown, that epistle remains precisely on an allegorical level, in unison with the codex of classical and medieval loca’s depiction, with a strong platonic and agostinian imprint: see Dieter Groh, Ruth Groh, Die Aussenwelt der Innenwelt. Zur Kulturgeschichte der Natur II, Frankfurt a. M., 1995, p. 76.

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Federico Italiano, « Defining Geopoetics », TRANS- [En ligne], 6 | 2008, mis en ligne le 07 juillet 2008, consulté le 21 novembre 2017. URL : http://trans.revues.org/299 ; DOI : 10.4000/trans.299

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Federico Italiano

Is a literary scholar, essayist and poet. Dottore in Filosofia (University of Milan, 2002), he completed his PhD in Munich (LMU, 2008), where he is currently serving as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature. He is editor of the literary magazine Atelier and literary critic of the Italian newspaper “il manifesto”

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