Poétique de l'exploration urbaine !
Depuis le flâneur des villes jusqu'à l'explorateur de salon, de la dérive au détournement, la psychogéographie nous procure de nouvelles manières d'appréhender notre environnement, des méthodes pour transformer les rues familières de notre expérience quotidienne en quelque chose de nouveau et d'inattendu.
Depuis Guy Debord et les situationnistes jusqu'à Jacques Réda, Iain Sinclair ou Will Self, en passant par Stevenson, Baudelaire, Léon-Paul Fargue ou Jacques Yonnet, nombreux sont les adeptes de la psychogéographie qui ont couché par écrit leurs errances et leurs explorations urbaines. Londres et Paris sont les territoires privilégiés de la psychogéographie, mais celle-ci peut se pratiquer tout aussi bien à New York ou à San Francisco, à Lisbonne ou à Bruxelles.
London, more than any other city, has a secret history concealed from view. Behind the official façade promoted by the heritage industry, lies a city of esoteric traditions and obscure institutions, of lost knowledge and hidden locations. Occult London rediscovers this hidden history, unearthing the secret city and its forgotten inhabitants. Encompassing a historical panorama from the Elizabethan age to the present day, we are introduced to the magic of Dr Dee and Simon Forman, the rise of the Kabbalah and the occult designs of Wren and Hawksmoor. Elsewhere we meet figures such as Spring-Heeled Jack and the Highgate Vampyre, and occult organizations from the Invisible College to the Golden Dawn. Today a concern for such hidden traditions has returned and Merlin Coverley explores this revival of interest in the occult tradition, one that accords well with emerging New Age philosophies, the interest in London's Ley Lines, in alternative histories and psychogeography.
What do writers such as Charles Dickens and Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair and Robert Louis Stevenson have in common? The answer lies in the use these authors make of London as a fictional setting. Yet in these works and in those of other London writers the city is much more than merely a backdrop, instead becoming a character in its own right and creating a sense of place that is both a reflection and a reworking of the city. Here London is presented as a living organism, a huge and mysterious labyrinth, and the source of endless imagination. A whole world is contained by the city and within it the entire spectrum of human experience. From Bleak House to Hawksmoor, from Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to White Chappell Scarlet Tracings, London has continued to generate a series of fantastic visions. The humorous and the tragic, the grotesque and the bizarre, everything is possible here.In this book, Merlin Coverley examines the major themes in the development of the London novel from its origins in the Victorian metropolis and onward to the present day and the revival of London writing. On the way he explores the Occult Tradition and London Noir, the Disaster Novel and the rise of Psychogeography, and alongside the recognised classics of the genre he recovers some of those lost London writers whose works have been unjustly neglected.
The Art of Wandering is a history of that curious hybrid, the writer as walker. From the peripatetic philosophers of Ancient Greece to the streets of twenty-first century London, Paris and New York, this figure has evolved through the centuries, the philosopher and the Romantic giving way to the experimentalist and radical. From pilgrim to pedestrian, flâneur to stalker, the names may change but the activity of walking remains constant, creating a literary tradition encompassing philosophy and poetry, the novel and the manifesto; a tradition which this book explores in detail. Today, as the figure of the wanderer returns to the forefront of the public imagination, writers and walkers from around the world are re-engaging with the ideas which animated earlier generations. For the walker is once again on the march, mapping new territory and recording new visions of the landscape.
For more than 2,000 years utopian visionaries have sought to create a blueprint of the ideal society: from Plato to HG Wells, from Cloudcuckooland to Shangri-La, the utopian impulse has generated a vast body of work, encompassing philosophy and political theory, classical literature and science fiction. And yet these utopian dreams have often turned to nightmare, as utopia gives way to its dark reflection, dystopia. Utopia takes the reader on a journey through these imaginary worlds, charting the progress of utopian ideas from their origins within the classical world, to the rebirth of utopian ideals in the Middle Ages. Later we see the emergence of socialist and feminist ideas; while the twentieth century was to be dominated by expressions of totalitarian oppression. From the novel to the political manifesto, from satire to science fiction, utopias have always reflected the age that gave rise to them, and this guide will explore this historical context, offering both an analysis of the key texts and an account of their political and cultural background. Today, it is claimed that we are witnessing the death of utopia, as increasingly the ideals that give rise to them are undermined or dismissed. These arguments are explored and evaluated here, and contemporary examples of utopian thought used to demonstrate the enduring relevance of the utopian tradition.