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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: June 2020

7 - Fearing the Map: Representational Priorities and Referential Assumptions


Chapter Seven marks a turn away from consideration of ways in which the material presence of the map bears upon authorial and readerly meaning-making, to ways in which the absence, or internalisation, of the map affects the reader’s engagement with the text. Literary mapping is unusual by comparison with maps in other disciplines, in that the question of why a map is not present, or is withheld, can be of as much interest as its presence. This chapter addresses a question that implicitly emerges from the earlier chapters: why do maps occur so frequently in popular genres but extremely infrequently in canonical texts (especially the realist novel)? After exploring this issue through debates around realism and representation in France and Britain, the chapter considers two rare canonical authors who do use maps in relation to the realist novel: Trollope and Hardy. (141)