Carte blanche to Travel Narrative

Philippe Vasset's Un livre blanc

in Journeys
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Sara Bédard-Goulet University of Tartu, Estonia sara.bedard-goulet@ut.ee

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Abstract

The “spatial turn” in the humanities has pointed out how space is produced and how it is affected by power relations, while critical geography has identified the impact of these relations on cartographic representation of space. The presence of maps in travel narratives thus carries certain ideologies and influences the narratives. In Un livre blanc: récit avec cartes [A Blank Book: Narrative with Maps] (2007), contemporary French author Philippe Vasset attempts to describe the fifty blank spaces that he has noticed on the topographic map of Paris and its suburbs and visited over a one-year period. This article analyzes the major impact of maps on this narrative and the representation of space that it creates. Despite a direct experience of these “blank spaces”, the narrator is affected by a “cartographic performativity” that prompts him to treat space as a map, and he aims to write as a disembodied cartographer.

Contributor Notes

Sara Bédard-Goulet is ASTRA professor of romance studies at the University of Tartu (Estonia), where she works on contemporary French language literature and literary theory. Her research interests include geopoetics and ecocriticism, reader-response theories, literature, and psychoanalysis. E-mail: sara.bedard-goulet@ut.ee ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7966-8569

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The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing

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