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Mapping the English Lake District: a literary GIS.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2010
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Journal number1
Volume36
Number of pages20
Pages89-108
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

To date, much of the work that uses Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to study human geographies applies a social science paradigm to quantitative data. There is a growing recognition of the need, however, to test whether GIS can be used to map out the qualitative ‘data’ provided by the articulation of subjective spatial experiences. This paper expands the conceptual possibilities opened up by the use of GIS technology through an exploration of the theoretical potentiality of literary GIS. Drawing upon work carried out as part of an interdisciplinary project, ‘Mapping the Lakes’, the paper focuses on the ways in which GIS can be used to explore the spatial relationships between, two textual accounts of tours of the English Lake District: the proto-Picturesque journey undertaken by the poet, Thomas Gray, in the autumn of 1769; and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s self-consciously post-Picturesque ‘circumcursion’ of August 1802. Alongside this text-specific focus, the paper also draws upon recent spatial literary criticism to reflect, more generally, upon the critical possibilities and problems associated with the digital mapping of the literature of place and space. Ultimately, the paper seeks to open up methodological and critical space for the ongoing development of literary GIS.

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