Spurr, David, and Cornelia Tschichold (eds.). 2005. The Space of English. SPELL 17.

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Table of Contents


Introduction                                                                                11


David Spurr (Geneva)

The Study of Space in Literature: Some Paradigms                                     15


Alberto Pérez-Gómez (Montreal)

From Treatise to Story: The Changing Nature of Architectural

Discourse from the Renaissance to the Eighteenth Century                          35


Fabienne Michelet (Geneva)

Centrality, Marginality and Distance: Britain’s Changing Location

on the Map of the World                                                                        51


Denis Renevey (Fribourg)

Figuring Household Space in Ancrene Wisse and The Doctrine

of the Hert                                                                                   69


Manula Rossini (Nijmegen)

The Gendered Spatiology of Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside             85


Lukas Erne (Neuchâtel)

Words in Space: The Reproduction of Texts and the Semiotics of

the Page                                                                                     99


Karen Junod (Oxford)

Drawing Pictures in Words: The Anecdote as Spatial Form in

Biographies of Hogarth                                                            119


Patrick H. Vincent (Neuchâtel)

Switzerland No More”: Turner, Wordsworth and the Changed

Landscape of Revolution                                                                      135




Corinne Fournier (Geneva)

The Disciplinary City in the Second Half of the Nineteenth

Century                                                                                    153


Alan Robinson (St Gall)

Social Spaces in Some Early Tales by Henry James                                  163

Myriam Perregaux (Geneva/Dublin)

The City as Gendered Space: A Reading of Three Literary Texts

in the Light of Feminist Geography                                           179


Gisela Zingg (Geneva)

Hiberno-English in Joyce’s Ulysses                                              195


Martina Häcker (Konstanz)

Linking [h] and the Variation between Linking [r] and Glottal

Onsets in South African English                                                 207


Iris Schaller-Schwaner (Fribourg) & Cornelia Tschichold (Swansea)

Born to be Wild: English in Swiss Public Space                           227


Pius ten Hacken (Swansea)

The Disappearance of the Geographical Dimension of Language in

American Linguistics                                                                 249


David Wilson (Neuchâtel)

Mugging de Queen’s English? Mapping Mental Spaces of

English                                                                                    265


Laura Wright (Cambridge)

The Space of English: Geographic Space, Temporal Space, and

Social Space                                                                             287


Notes on Contributors                                                             315


Index of Names                                                                                  319

The Study of Space in

Literature: Some Paradigms


David Spurr


Gibt es auf Erden ein Mass? Es gibt keines.



The study of space in literature needs to take into account both the philosophical conceptions of space contemporary with given literary works, and the actual construction of space in the social order which provides the context for literary production. With these imperatives in mind, this essay argues that modern literature from the seventeenth century to the present has been the site of a struggle between a dominant Cartesian model of space and a series of challenges to this model. The history of literary representations of space is thus marked by various forms of resistance to empirical rationality. Whereas the origins of these challenges can be traced to Platonic conceptions of space, they also reflect the inadequacy of a purely rational model for literature in its attempt to come to terms with modern experiential reality.

From Treatise to Story: The Changing Nature of

Architectural Discourse from the Renaissance

to the Eighteenth Century


Alberto Pérez-Gómez


This essay traces the changing nature of architectural discourse in European treatises from the Renaissance to the late eighteenth century. Focusing mostly on French and Italian examples, it discusses transforming relationships to science, philosophy, history, and literature, emphasizing the richness and diversity of such discursive and narrative practices. It follows a roughly linear path from the “treatise as cosmology” (Palladio), to “theory as history” (Fischer von Erlach), culminating in “discourse as fiction” (Ledoux). This argument is set in opposition to a pre-valent (scientistic) view of architectural theory as a set of merely technical or instrumental rules.

Centrality, Marginality and Distance: Britain’s Changing Location

on the Map of the World


Fabienne Michelet


 This essay examines the variations of Britain’s location in antique and medieval representations of the orbis terrae. It analyzes the various strategies Anglo-Saxon authors developed to redefine the situation of their island in a wider continental geography, thereby remapping Europe’s northern limits. Focusing on selected historical and cartographic sour-ces, this article investigates what is at stake in geographical positioning, and it questions the location of the centre and the evaluation of distance as well as the links existing between localization and identity. It contends that insular authors, minimizing or transcending the distance separating their homeland from a Mediterranean centre of civilization, elaborate a new centrality around their island.

Figuring Household Space in

Ancrene Wisse and The Doctrine of the Hert


Denis Renevey


This article addresses the notion of space by emphasizing the imagery of the household in two medieval religious texts. In Ancrene Wisse, household space is most often addressed literally: the anchoress is invited to configure her anchorhold by transposing to it some of the daily activities pertaining to a secular household. At other moments, the image of the household is used for the shaping of her inner self, and therefore participates in the construction of the devotional household. Such a model, influenced by confessional practice, is developed in greater detail in The Doctrine of the Hert, in which the devotional household is used as a spatial category for the shaping of the inner feelings. This study demonstrates that the use of space as a historical category offers a new perspective on the study of medieval religious literature.

The Gendered Spatiology of Middleton’s
A Chaste Maid in Cheapside


Manuela Rossini


A successful revolution must

effect changes in space

Henri Lefebvre



This reading of Thomas Middleton’s city comedy is informed by an understanding of space which combines a static, topographical notion of “place” with a conceptual one that insists on the material dimension of identity formation as theorized most prominently by Henri Lefebvre in The Production of Space. Based on his spatiology and focusing on two specific urban locales – the public theatre and the private shop – this essay contends that new buildings produced new subjectivities and orientations that are inevitably gendered and closely connected to the imperatives of the centralized nation-state and its nascent capitalism. Yet while the play participates in the construction of the private/public divide and of a “closeted womanhood,” it also shows the precariousness of supposedly fixed boundaries, as well as the fluidity and openness of all categories.

Words in Space: The Reproduction of Texts

and the Semiotics of the Page


Lukas Erne



According to the dominant parameters in literary studies today, texts mean linguistically, not bibliographically. Space is therefore often studied for how it is represented by means of linguistic signs. This chapter suggest that such an approach is usefully complemented by an analysis of the bibliographical space within which such representations occur. The author argues that the linguistic meaning of a text and of its various editorial reproductions is in fact inextricably bound up with, and therefore needs to be studied with an awareness of, the specificity of its material incarnation.

Drawing Pictures in Words: The Anecdote as

Spatial Form in Biographies of Hogarth


Karen Junod


In this essay I explore the role played by certain anecdotes in the biographies of William Hogarth published in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Britain. After briefly outlining the semantic evolution of the term, I discuss the spatial and visual qualities of this narrative form. By means of several examples, I show how such brief and striking stories can be considered as the closest narrative equivalent to Hogarth’s pictures. In my conclusion, I place my essay in the larger context of writing on art produced in England at the time, and show how Hogarthian anecdotes had an impact on the reception of this artist in the nineteenth century.

Switzerland No More”:

Turner, Wordsworth and the

Changed Landscape of Revolution

Patrick H. Vincent

Switzerland’s revolutions and two invasions in 1798 and 1802 changed the way Britain perceived the country. Eighteenth-century paintings and travel narratives had represented Switzerland as a moral landscape in which liberty, nature and manners mirrored one another to form a republican paradise. While France’s easy invasion shattered the ideal of liberty, it also led many observers to hold the Swiss responsible for their defeat and to view their manners as corrupt. A number of artists, including Turner and Wordsworth, reconfigured their representations of Switzerland to take into account these historical changes and to recuperate the idea of heroic republicanism, either internalizing it or redirecting it patriotically toward Britain.

The Disciplinary City in the Second Half

of the Nineteenth Century


Corinne Fournier


The birth of city planning in the middle of the nineteenth century at first appears to have been a necessary response to population growth and to changes in modes of transportation. However, city planning may also be regarded as a response to the needs of established institutions to find ways of governing and surveying the population besides those of violence or the threat of punishment. This paper discusses three methods used to create the new disciplinary city: the increase in open space, the recourse to historicist styles, and the emergence of a transparent architecture.

Social Spaces in Some Early

Tales by Henry James


Alan Robinson


Focusing mainly on “An International Episode” (1878-9) and “The Siege of London” (1883), this essay relates the social spaces depicted in these tales to James’s imaginative preoccupations and professional ambitions in this period in which he carved out a niche as a writer in London. His biographical situation, his reflections on the “provincial” and the “cosmopolitan” in travel writings and in Hawthorne (1879), and his observations of America in The American Scene (1907) provide a context for these stories, which are also linked intertextually to Trollope and to mid-century French drama.

The City as Gendered Space: A Reading of Three Literary Texts in the Light of Feminist Geography


Myriam Perregaux


In this paper, the question of how the city is gendered is examined through a discussion of the private/public division of urban space in three literary texts (by Meiling Jin, Doris Lessing and Buchi Emecheta), read in the light of the work undertaken by feminist geographers on the spatialisation of gender divisions and on embodiment. This interdisciplinary approach allows for a complex understanding of how gender division works in the city, and questions whether it remains - or has ever been - a pertinent way of reading the urban experience. Instead, the performative dimension of that experience is highlighted, suggesting that the gendered inscription of bodies within the city is a process that cannot be articulated in simple binary terms.

Hiberno-English in Joyce’s Ulysses


Gisela Zingg


James Joyce’s Ulysses has never been systematically studied as a work largely written in dialect, i.e. Hiberno-English. This essay tries to show that Joyce’s frequent use of Hiberno-English has a linguistic as well as a literary importance in the novel. The essay discusses the way some characters in Ulysses make use of Hiberno-English: including the effect the dialect has on the situation in which it is used, and what it reveals about the characters themselves. In those places where the dialect is used, either it has a specific importance for the action, or else it contributes to the specific identity of a character.


Linking [ɦ] and the variation between linking /r/ and glottal onsets in South African English


Martina Häcker


Both linking [ɦ] and the variation between linking [ɹ] and glottal stop are not known in any other variety of English apart from South African English. This paper investigates the possible origins of these features. It argues that they go back to Cockney features that were transferred to South Africa and modified under the influence of Afrikaans.

Born to be Wild: English in Swiss Public Space


Iris Schaller-Schwaner and Cornelia Tschichold


English phrases have become an integral part of the landscape of signs and texts in Swiss public space. It is often assumed that this reflects an intra-national lingua franca function of English in a plurilingual country. On closer scrutiny, however, this is not always the case. The use of English in Swiss public space neither indicates that plurilingual Switzerland is turning into an English-speaking country nor that English is actually needed for communication in the transactional lingua franca sense. In fact, English is often used where it is not needed, for example in billboard advertisements. This paper discusses and illustrates the way English is used for public language display.

The Disappearance of the Geographical Dimension of

Language in American Linguistics


Pius ten Hacken


Traditionally, a language such as English is conceived of as consisting of a number of dialects. The description of the geographical distribution of dialects has never had the same important role in American linguistics as in European linguistics. In his description of the European approach, Bloomfield noted a number of conceptual problems with the application and interpretation of isoglosses. Among the Post-Bloomfieldians, Hockett in particular developed an alternative approach based on mutual intelligibility of idiolects. In Chomskyan linguistics, the concept of language as a mental knowledge component resolves the problems noted by Bloomfield as a side effect of explaining a number of generally accepted properties of language. Thus, the geographical dimension of language can be seen to develop into an epiphenomenon in the history of 20th century American linguistics.

Mugging de Queen’s English?

Mapping Mental Spaces of English


David Wilson


This paper proposes that a cognitive linguistic approach to the discourse of current debates over the English language and English literature(s) may contribute to an understanding of how it is that conflicting perceptions of key issues persist and are apparently impervious to rational argument. The discussion begins by outlining the type of debate under consideration. It then goes on to introduce the cognitive theory of metaphor and the notion of cognitive mappings in general, along with recent developments concerning conceptual integration or blending. The final section considers some typical standpoints in one current controversy surrounding the English language and examines what insights a cognitive linguistic approach can bring to an understanding of why such issues are so intractable.

The Space of English: Geographic Space, Temporal Space and Social Space


Laura Wright


This paper takes as its topic the encoding of social rank in accent and dialect, and the spread of such social values from city and hinterland to overseas colony, using as data transcriptions of recorded speech elicited in interviews, eighteenth and nineteenth-century orthoepistic comment, and written literary representation of speech. It considers the combined effects of geographical space on speech, that is to say, speakers living collectively in one geographical area which over time enables a dialect to develop; social space, that is, speakers living collectively in one place for long enough for the social distinctions within the group to be manifest in their speech; and also temporal space, because without a time-depth, these things cannot happen. The phonemes [h] and [j], plus an adverbial construction are used to illustrate the combination of these three effects.

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