The term "psychogeography" is used to illustrate a bewildering array of ideas, from ley lines and the occult to urban walking and political radicalismwhere does it come from and what exactly does it mean? Psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet in assessing the emotional and behavioral impact of urban space. The relationship between a city and its inhabitants is measured firstly through an imaginative and literary response, secondly on foot through walking the city. This creates a tradition of the writer as walker and has both a literary and a political component. This guide examines the origins of psychogeography in the Situationist Movement of the 1950s, exploring the theoretical background and its political applications as well as the work of early practitioners such as Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem. Elsewhere, psychogeographic ideas continue to find retrospective validation in much earlier traditions from the visionary writing of William Blake and Thomas De Quincey to the rise of the flâneur on the streets of 19th century Paris and on through the avant-garde experimentation of the Surrealists. These precursors are discussed here alongside their modern counterparts, for today these ideas hold greater currency than ever through the popularity of writers and filmmakers such as Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd, Stewart Home and Patrick Keiller. This guide offers both an explanation and definition of the terms involved, an analysis of the key figures and their work, and practical information on psychogeographical groups and organizations.
Published: Oldcastle Books an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on Mar 9, 2012
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A really good little guide and introduction to the pseudo-science ( or is it an art form?) of psychogeography. Dr Coverley has produced a readable guide with plenty of references that tempt you to look further. He flecks it with little spots of mildly cynical humour that keeps everything in perspective. When I put it down I was immediately tempted to pick up my notebook, pencil and camera and go for an aimless wander around the city seeing and recording whatever turned up or whatever caught my eye.more
This book got off to a slow start and I worried that the author may have left out too much in the effort to conform to the 'essentials' format. But the second half of the book contains some pricelessly funny judgements of an intellectual movement that, despite having promise, had a hard time getting off the ground because most of the main proponents were, well, nuts. The idea that cities have secret organic properties that transcend time and influence the behaviour of their occupants is one that I find extremely compelling, though I'd want to put it on more of a scientific basis than a mystical one. This book also made me want to read JG Ballard and Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor.more