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Arthur Machen’s Hill of Dreams and the Spatial Hinge
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2022
Swansea University Author: Aled Singleton
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Arthur Machen’s semi-autobiographical novel The Hill of Dreams (1907) follows a young man who spent his childhood in Wales and now lives in late-Victorian London. This paper takes the latter text and uses the ‘spatial hinge’ concept (Thurgill, 2021) to explore how wandering the ever-expanding neighb...
|Published in:||RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2022|
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Arthur Machen’s semi-autobiographical novel The Hill of Dreams (1907) follows a young man who spent his childhood in Wales and now lives in late-Victorian London. This paper takes the latter text and uses the ‘spatial hinge’ concept (Thurgill, 2021) to explore how wandering the ever-expanding neighbourhoods of 1890s London evokes everyday moods (Highmore, 2011) in Caerleon, the actual birthplace of Machen, as post-war private housing estates were taking shape. My work takes an assemblage approach (Anderson, 2015) including close reading, historic maps, biographical interviews, and a collaboration with a performance artist to compose a Hill of Dreams-inspired public walk for the 2019 Caerleon Literary Festival. Text was shared during the walking event, such as Machen describing the metropolis’ edgelands as: ‘everywhere the ruins of the country, the tracks where sweet lanes had been, gangrened stumps of trees, the relics of hedges…’ (2006, p. 168). Such words, experienced in a suburban location, prompted people to recall the 1960s when woodlands and lapwing habitats were displaced by bricks and tarmac. This use of a fictional text in a real place works towards ‘interspatiality’ (Hones, forthcoming); revealing that which is more-than-representational and giving valuable insight to the subjective and affective dimensions of space.
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Economic and Social Research Council Fellowship Grant