Region:Geddes, Forster, and the Situated Eye

Jon Hegglund

in World Views

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796106
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932771 | DOI:

Series: Modernist Literature and Culture

Region:Geddes, Forster, and the Situated Eye

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter reads the fictional articulation of the region as another metageographical response to the form of the nation. Scottish geographer and urbanist Patrick Geddes advances a vision of region that attempts to synthesize natural and built environments, along with a consideration of how space simultaneously embodies past, present, and future. In contrast to a “God's-eye” view of the world operative in imperial geopolitics, Geddes' interdisciplinary methodology emphasizes the importance of both embodied vision and human scale. Where Geddes approaches the problem of the region in the context of modernity, however, he is less concerned with how individual subjects might imaginatively grasp their environments and cognitively map their relationships to regional spaces. In Howards End, E. M. Forster attempts to reconcile individual to region to nation, though his characters are never “at home” in any communal place and can thus only view regionalism from an exterior, dis-placed position. Even as the situated eye suggests a more immediate, embodied relationship to place, it ultimately occludes any kind of isomorphism between local region and the imagined community of the nation.

Keywords: region; subjectivity; landscape; place; Patrick Geddes; E. M. Forster; Howard's End

Chapter.  12248 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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