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Chapter 8 - Wordsworth and Mandelbrot on the Coast of Britain

from Part II - Cartographic Encounters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2021

Sally Bushell
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Julia S. Carlson
Affiliation:
University of Cincinnati
Damian Walford Davies
Affiliation:
Cardiff University
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Summary

Early on in The Fractal Geometry of Nature, Benoit Mandelbrot foregrounds the western coast of Britain as a paradigmatic instance of a fractal object in nature, combining pattern with irregularity at ever-diminishing levels of scales. That emblematic status is curiously anticipated by the land's-end vision from Snowdon which closes Wordsworth’s Prelude. Criticism has long recognized the totalizing function of the ascent of Snowdon. This essay seeks to emphasize the way in which it interrupts the narrative process it recapitulates and to connect that interruption with the irregularity or fractiousness of fractal form.

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Chapter
Information
Romantic Cartographies
Mapping, Literature, Culture, 1789–1832
, pp. 195 - 208
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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