Intercities

Overview

"Forgetting is a strange power, because it makes memory possible. That is why all architecture from the past is something like the music of space, which surrounds us and sends us images that we have constantly to interpret."

In Intercities, Stefan Hertmans thinks about what constitutes identity in present-day Europe. Looking at people and cities from the periphery, he tries to discover an "archaeology of streets and faces" which could bring him closer to himself. Set in peripheral cities such as Trieste, ...

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Overview

"Forgetting is a strange power, because it makes memory possible. That is why all architecture from the past is something like the music of space, which surrounds us and sends us images that we have constantly to interpret."

In Intercities, Stefan Hertmans thinks about what constitutes identity in present-day Europe. Looking at people and cities from the periphery, he tries to discover an "archaeology of streets and faces" which could bring him closer to himself. Set in peripheral cities such as Trieste, Marseille, Dresden and Bratislava, and in major ones like Vienna and Amsterdam, Intercities is about the feeling of being abroad, of losing part of one's self in order to gain a richer life.

Mingling travel stories with philosophical reflections, Hertmans's poetic text proves the sixteenth-century observation that every journey is a "voyage around your own chamber". His book is a personal statement about living in Europe today which looks beyond the surface to the heart of contemporary urban existence.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Belgian academic and author Hertmans has produced a peculiar series of essays about several cities of his choice (i.e., Sydney, T bingen, Trieste, Dresden, Bratislava, Vienna, Marseilles, and Ghent, the author's home), their relationship to major literary figures, and his own mental and physical meanderings. The inclusion of Sydney, Australia, in a "personal statement about living in Europe today" is as odd as Hertmans's occasionally incoherent, incomprehensible text. Also as puzzling is a section at the end of the book titled "Check-Out," in which he defines terms from "Aesthetics of Travel" to "Zwarte Vijers/Etangs Noirs (Black Ponds)." Only the last chapter, "Ultima Thule," dealing with Hertmans's home city, holds together. There are bits of literary scholarship, which may appeal to some readers, but as an exploration of place the book disappoints. This volume is part of Reaktion's "Topographics" series with the stated purpose to "mingle analysis with anecdote, criticism with original expressive writing, to explore the creative collision between physical space and the human mind." Not recommended for most libraries. Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861890931
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2001
  • Series: Reaktion Books - Topographics Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stefan Hertmans is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent. He has published novels, anthologies of short stories, essays on literature and philosophy, theater texts and poetry.

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Table of Contents

Check-In Sydney: Parallel Worlds Tübingen: Gothic Graffiti Trieste: Lonely In-Between Dresden Intercity Bratislava: The Age of Anachronism Vienna Marseilles: Urban Legends and Sardines Never Run Away from a Kiss Clouds. Home Ultima Thule Check-Out

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