In my earlier post in this module, I referred to my visit to Hitler’s “Wolfschanze” in East Prussia (now Poland) and included a number of images of the ruins of this historically important site. On the theme of the marks of conflict I was particularly interested in Simon Norfolk’s project Afghanistan: Chronotopia:
Norfolk sees this war-ravaged landscape through the lens of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope, “a place that allows movement through space and time simultaneously, a place that displays the ‘layeredness of time’.”
I have been considering how the chronotope, “as a distinctive configuration of time and space that defines ‘reality’ within the world of the text, as conceptualised within that world itself ” (Beaton, 2010: 62), might relate to my major project in fulfilling its aim to link landscape, poets and their verse. The poetry of Yeats and Heaney has its fount in a distinct geographical environment (i.e. the landscape of Ireland) and it is, of course, the exploration of this spatial dimension which gives purpose to my project. As far as concerns the temporal dimension of Bakhtin’s concept, the “Yeats country” of the West of Ireland remains much as the poet would have known it. On the other hand, the Heaney landscape, as my images show, has suffered much man-made alteration over the years and thus presents the “layerdness” to which Norfolk alludes.
I will hope to develop this discussion further in future posts.
Bakhtin, Mikhail M. “Forms of Time and the Chronotope in the Novel: Notes towards a Historical Poetics” in The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. (Ed. Michael Holquist). Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist 1981. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.
Beaton, Roderick. “Historical Poetics: “Chronotopes in Leucippe and Clitophon and Tom Jones” in Bakhtin’s Theory of the Literary Chronotope: Reflections, Applications, Perspectives( Ed. Nele Bemong and others), Gent, 2010