Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Optional Readings: Secondary Worlds (James Kneale) and Cinematic Cities (Maria Helena B. V. da Costa)

da Costa (looking at film) and Kneale (looking at science fiction literature) suggest a methodology for a geographical interpretation of representations of place. They examine the difference between representations of place and realities of place, looking for the cultural politics, interpretations and commentary embedded in those differences. Representations give new meaning to the lived experience of places and spaces, which translates into an influence on action in or reaction to place.

Both da Costa and Kneale consider the geography of texts: the pace of characters’ action and experience; the relationship of places to characters and plot; and the meanings and functions of places, both as part of the in-text action and as paralleled with reality. How places are represented (writing of the smells on a city street or showing a panoramic skyline) and the denotations of those representations (a character said to feel at home or the upbeat music in a scene) give meaning to places in texts.

Kneale warns against placing too much emphasis on a writer: the important things are the differences between the fictional world and the real (not the writer's) world, and the reader's interpretation (not the author's intention) of meaning in a work.

da Costa, however, does consider how the filmmaker’s own experience informs feelings about and presentation of a place. She also considers that representations of place are never solely informed by direct experience, they are also informed by other representations; and that interpretation of texts is subject to influences of place and space. (For example, a viewer’s interpretation of a movie is dependent on viewing place (at home or in a theater), space (alone or with friends) and mediation (private reflection or group discussion).)

While da Costa and Kneale give interesting explanations of how geography can inform textual analysis, I am unfortunately still unsure of how textual analysis can inform geography.

1 comment:

Vikram Jeet said...

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