by Michèle DUCLOS

A strange kind of predestination seems to have presided over the writing of this book on Kenneth White and Geopoetics. Its author, Mohammed Hashas, is an ex-student of Professor Khalid Haji, who was himself a student under Kenneth White at the Sorbonne.

An enthusiastic and open-minded reader of Kenneth White’s books, and now himself an established teacher, Hashas divides the impressive material he has assembled into three large, clear parts :

Read more: Intercultural Geopoetics in Kenneth White’s Open World by Mohammed Hashas


Although I have been making maps for a dozen years now, cartography, in the sense of a general desire and competence to make maps, remains alien to me. The maps I have so far undertaken cover all the land I can see from where I live, and are elaborated and externalized version of the mental sketchmaps one makes to situate oneself, cognitively and emotionally, in a new locality. Since it was the disorientating nature of the place I had opted to live in that urged me to map it, I should begin this brief retrospect with a hint of its strangeness to one coming there directly from London. The Aran Islands are three chips of limestone off the Burren, the paradoxical character of which is well indicated by the name of its ruined abbey, 'St Mary of the Fertile Rock'. However the islands are more on speaking terms with Connemara, sharing with it the honour and burden of a language in retreat, carrying an oral tradition older than Christianity. The Atlantic batters, caresses, bewilders and depresses the two mainlands and lavishes its attentions on the islands in particular. That will do; that is already more than I knew when I arrived in 1972, to live in a hamlet an hour's walk west of the little port of Árainn, the largest of the islands.

Read more: Interim Reports from Folding Landscapes

by Kenneth WHITE

« Disintegrating the image, turning meaning into movement. »



The wind’s howling round my study :

« Hebrides, Minches, Baillie. South-west backing south-east 6 to gale 8 decreasing 4 for a time. Rain showers. Good becoming poor for a time. Fair Isle, Faroes. Westerly severe gale 9 decreasing 4 backing south-east 6 to gale 8 later… »

If there’s anything I listen to with pleasure on the radio, it’s the marine weather report. With very few exceptions, the rest of the news is just the story of never-ending human imbecility. Joyce wanted to waken up from the nightmare. Hegel thought he saw a logic in it and he wrote the Phenomenology of the Mind in order to demonstrate the fact. In my more philosophical moments, I’m tempted to compose a Meteorology of the Mind, but I’ve come to want to leave the -logies alone and work closer in to the landscape, in an intellectual context still to be defined. I’ve been calling it for some time now geopoetics, and consider it as aiming at a new mental geography and a new language of communication (a wave-length our culture hasn’t yet tuned into.)

That’s what I’ve come to work at here in Brittany.

Read more: The Complex Field

by Kenneth WHITE

There was a time, first in Glasgow, then in Paris, when I was plunged in Russian literature and Russian problematics. I often walked up and down Nekrassov Street and looked along the Neva prospect…




What preoccupied me in Glasgow was the relationship between nationalism and cosmopolitanism : the big 19th century debate in Russia between the Occidentalists on the one hand and the Slavophiles on the other, both of them concerned with the evolution of culture in Russia and with the question of native genius.

Russia has always oscillated between the European West and the Asiatic East. It was overwhelmed from Asia by the Golden Horde, and was aggressed from the West by the Teutonic Order. It expanded West into the Baltic and East across Siberia. If there were peaceful relations – economic and cultural – between Russia and Europe as early as the pre-eminence of Kiev, if they were developed, towards England, France and Spain, in the 16th century, if Boris Godunov accentuated the thrust towards a Russia of Europe, it was with Peter the Great that the great turning-point occurred in Russian history, with a massive move towards European ways of working and thinking. This was the beginning of Occidentalism.

Peter the Great, whom we might more usefully call Peter the Pragmatist, opened up, materially and intellectually, the Nevski prospect. The image he had of Russia was of a country steeped in superstition and obscurantism euphemistically dubbed « spirituality », whose Church calendar went back to « the creation of the world », a country economically backward, with no significant volume of trade, no adequate financial system, an army hardly worth talking about, and a navy that was non-existent, the only port open to the West being Arkangelsk, blocked half of the year by ice. Peter’s aim was to lift Russia out of its murky Middle Ages and set it on an equal footing with the modern states of Europe.

Read more: Politics and Poetics
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