Written Somewhere: The Social Space of Text

Coughlan, David William. 2002. Written Somewhere: The Social Space of Text. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is concerned with the space of text, with the composition of that space, its form and substance, and also with the perception and experience of that space. The argument takes in existing theoretical attempts to explain the spatiality of texts, particularly Joseph Frank's 1945 essay "Spatial Form in Modem Literature," and tests their ideas against literary texts which, it will be argued, make a vital contribution to our comprehension of textual space. The keys texts studied are John Banville's Kepler, Paul Auster's City of Glass, Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled, and the works of Thomas Pynchon.

As an understanding of the space of text develops, the work of Henri Lefebvre, and especially his 1974 text The Production of Space, comes increasingly to the fore. Criticising traditional philosophical concepts of space, which tend to view space in either purely physical or mental terms, Lefebvre's work enables us to place the discussion on textual space within a wider context. Textual space is seen to emerge as a social space, and thus a social product, capable of being employed in different ways within society, as a representation of space, aligned with mental space, or as a representational space, allied to lived spaces. The final sections of the thesis explore the reader's experience of this lived textual space, and question the role and place of textual space in the social realm.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



text, space, Henri Lefebvre, Thomas Pynchon, John Banville, Kazuo Ishiguro, textual space

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2020 14:29

Last Modified:

12 Sep 2022 14:10



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