Towards an Assemblage Approach to Literary Geography

Jon Anderson


Over recent years literary geography has adopted a relational approach to its subject matter. This article continues this move, suggesting that assemblage theory can help develop the sub-discipline in two interrelated ways. Firstly, at a project level, assemblage theory enables literary geographers to identify all components that have agency and influence over the power of fiction (including authors, translators, publishers, readers, places, etc). As part of this first argument, the article develops Hones’ concept of reading fiction as a ‘spatial event’ (Hones, 2008, 2014). This article interacts with Hones’ textual ‘happening’ and seeks to emphasise the valence of the spatial event of fiction on reader relations to material and social geographies. It offers a short case study from the work of novelist Tessa Hadley to illustrate aspects of this valence. Secondly, at the sub disciplinary level, the article argues that assemblage theory may offer a common ground which allows scholars from both literary and geographical positions to locate their writings in the broader set of approaches that define literary geographies.


literature; place; spatial event; assemblage; novel

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