March 11, 2016
Our notions of space and place are deeply invested with narrative – to the degree that one can think of storytelling as a spatial form and practice. Critical engagements with space and place have bypassed these investments so far since narrative is firmly associated with matters of time whereas space, commonly perceived as the stable backdrop to history’s transformative operations, is yet to be emancipated from the dominance of time. Parallel to reconstructing space in ways that bring out its own productivity, narratologists have been reassessing narrative’s vastly neglected relation to space. This essay zooms in on two venues of this work: on general recalibrations of the relation of space and narrative, and on the spatial metaphors evoked and employed by it. Linking these reassessments of narrative spatiality to on-going revisions of representational narrativity, I hope to show how these parallel strands of critical rethinking can deepen our understanding of both space and narrative – if they are brought to converge.