. 6/14/2021. “
This special issue of Partial Answers follows in the wake of a four-day conference on mapping and literature – “Mapping Victorian Empires, Cultures, Identities.” In May 2019, over 50 delegates from no fewer than 10 countries gathered in Jerusalem and Haifa to discuss long-19th-century, Victorian, and post-Victorian literary mappings, settings, journeys, and locales. Some of the speakers expanded their talks into the essays presented in this volume. The introduction asks what it is about maps that makes them literary, poetic, and symbolic texts. Maps are notoriously biased because of political and economic agendas and epistemological conventions, and they are inevitably skewed, even if only because they project a global object onto a flat page. Yet poetic maps, unlike scientific ones, acknowledge and savor this slanted gaze.
The introduction analyzes fictional mappings as a poetic device and suggests that in works of literature, maps – commonly taken to provide access to a concrete physical reality– tend to serve as imaginary spaces for rethinking geographies, identities, and cultures. Poetic maps conceptualize geographical reality as an attribute of the mind, giving shape and structure to the interiority and establishing a critical distance from empirical conventions of space.
March 2021: Galia Benziman is Associate Professor and Chair of the English department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research focuses on British literature of the long 19th century; in particular, on Dickens, Hardy, the history of childhood, and the Elegy. She has published two books: Narratives of Child Neglect in Romantic and Victorian Culture (2012) and Thomas Hardy's Elegiac Prose and Poetry: Codes of Bereavement (2018). Her essays appeared in Dickens Studies Annual, Dickens Quarterly, Studies in the Novel, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, JNT, Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, The Oxford Handbook of Charles Dickens, and other platforms.
March 2021: Zoe Beenstock is a lecturer at the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Haifa. She is the author of The Politics of Romanticism: The Social Contract and Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 2016). Her new project deals with Romantic Palestine. She has articles published in European Romantic Review, Romanticism, MLQ, SEL 1500-1900, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Philosophy and Literature.