Revue Trans- N° 16 issue "Literature, Landscape and Ecology"

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Ivan Salinas - Revue Trans-
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If we consider the statement of Anne Cauquelin in "The Invention of the Landscape" (1989), our perception of the landscape is a construct, a cultural fact. The landscape is thus opposed to nature, because it is a nature shaped by the human eye. Alain Corbin, in "Man in the Landscape" (2001), agrees with this analysis: the landscape is "a way of reading" space. What happens when this reading of space becomes literature? Whether the landscape is an object of contemplation or an environment lived and experienced, it offers art one of the largest thematic and aesthetic field.

One can thus examine the links between landscape and literary creation. Indeed, in Reveries of the Solitary Walker by Rousseau or Walking by Henry David Thoreau, the link between reflection and landscape shows the latter as a trigger for philosophical meditation or an activation of poetic inspiration. In "A Quiet Apocalypse", Kenneth White calls "geopoetic", this continuity between the poet's consciousness and the scenery wandered in. It consists in "making a thought emerge from the scenery."

Inseparable from a "practice" of space, writing becomes "a way of exploring the geography of the world" (G.-A. Goldschmidt), but also of traveling in time: for to call itself visible and become visible, time sometimes takes the form of space. The landscape can thus become a place of memory: while walking in travel books or novels of strider writers, as Peter Handke, leads to poetics of the present as a welcoming of the fleeting moment, the landscape invites to a journey in the footsteps of past and history in the works of Sylvie Germain or Adam Bodor.

Commonplace in travel literature and a prerequisite in colonial novels, the landscape gives structure to familiar or exotic spaces, sometimes crystallizing the power of a fictional universe: G. Deleuze evokes "the hills of Faulkner" or "the Steppes of Tolstoy", "the moor" in the novels of Thomas Hardy, or "the ocean" in Melville's works. In these works, "the landscape sees ", "bloc of sensations," it surpasses experience and is for itself and by itself, going beyond all subjectivism. The landscape opens up to an anthropological reflection on the place of man in his environment. If for Deleuze it is necessary to think about the enigma inherited from Cézanne, "the man absent, but entirely in the landscape," Rilke already read in "the depth that unseals behind Mona Lisa" a questioning of the anthropocentrism "placed among things," "in the common depth from which the roots of everything that grows draw," man "is not anymore the one around which the morning and the evening, the near and the far revolves ". The deletion of the human figure in favor of the landscape or of an environment that now barely carries the trace of man refers to an entire movement of contemporary art. Like Jack London's Island Tales which have created a paradigm of habits in the beach resorts in Hawaii which are largely exploited by tourist agencies, we can also wonder if there is a tourist literature as there is today a literary tourism.

Articles dealing with environmental issues in literature are also welcome. In the wake of recent reflections on ecocriticism (Alain Suberchicot, Littérature et environnement. Pour une écocritique comparée, 2012), an area largely developed in Anglo-Saxon countries since the nineties, one can indeed wonder how literature deals with the themes of ecology, environment and landscape. By creating new "divisions of the sensible" (Rancière), is literature able to shape new ways of inhabiting the world?

This topic, which is intentionally broad, is open to all periods and genres (novel, story, drama, poetry, etc.) and may be open to comparisons with film and other visual arts; the only requirement is that the approach be comparative. Proposals (3000 characters or 500 words), along with a brief bibliography and a short author's statement, must be sent before April 19, 2013 in Word or RTF format to Selected articles must be submitted by June 20, 2013. As a reminder, TRANS- accepts articles in French, English and Spanish.

Here the French and the Spanish version: