1st Edition

Literary and Cultural Representations of the Hinterlands

    286 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This interdisciplinary collection explores the diverse relationships between the frequently ignored and inherently ambiguous hinterlands and their manifestations in literature and culture. Moving away from perspectives that emphasize the marginality of hinterlands and present them as devoid of agency and “cultural currency”, this collection assembles a series of original essays using various modes of engagement to reconceptualize hinterlands and highlight their semiotic complexity. Apart from providing a reassessment of hinterlands in terms of their geocultural significance, this book also explores hinterlands through such concepts as nostalgia, heterotopia, identity formation, habitation, and cognitive mapping, with reference to a wide geographical field. Literary and filmic revisions of familiar hinterlands, such as the Australian outback, Alberta prairie, and Arizona desert, are juxtaposed in this volume with representations of such little-known European hinterlands as Lower Silesia and Ukraine, and the complicated political dimension of First World War internment camps is investigated with regard to Kapuskasing (Ontario). Rural China and the Sussex Downs are examined here as writers’ retreats. Inner-city hinterlands in Haiti, India, Morocco, and urban New Jersey take on new meaning when contrasted with the vast hinterlands of megacities like Johannesburg and Los Angeles. The spectrum of diverse approaches to hinterlands helps to reinforce their multilayered and multivocal nature as spaces that defy clear categorization.

    List of Contributors


    Editors’ Introduction –  Hinterlands: A Return of the Outside

    Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak, Marcin Tereszewski, Dominika Ferens, and Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice



    Part I: Hinterlands as Movement


    Chapter 1

    The Transnational Hinterlands of Los Angeles in Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange

    Dominika Ferens


    Chapter 2

    Mapping Identity and Memory in Phaswane Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow

    S. U. Kriegel


    Chapter 3

    Decrepitude, Dispossession, Poetry, and a No-place as a Site of Weak Resistance: Twenty-first-century America as a Hinterland in the films Paterson and Nomadland

    Zofia Kolbuszewska



    Part II: Heterotopic Hinterlands


    Chapter 4

    Spaces of Identity in Morocco: Maureen F. McHugh’s Nekropolis

    Marta Komsta


    Chapter 5

    Unravelling the Haitian Hinterland as a Twofold Space: Dany Laferrière and Yanick Lahens

    Izabela Poręba


    Chapter 6

    Haven, Rebellion, Revelation: Australian Hinterlands as Heterotopias in Peter Carey’s Novels

    Barbara Klonowska


    Chapter 7

    The Ethical Call from the Hinterlands: Conceptualizing Waste in J. G Ballard’s High-Rise and Concrete Island

    Marcin Tereszewski


    Chapter 8

    Post-anthropocentric Hinterlands: Susan Straight’s California

    Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice



    Part III: Regenerative and Nostalgic Hinterlands


    Chapter 9

    (Re)constructing Identity along the Road through the Chinese Hinterland: Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain and Ma Jian’s Red Dust

    Raffael Weger


    Chapter 10

    Chenkalchoola: Reconfiguring the Social Imaginary of an Indian Hinterland

    S. M. Mithuna and Maya Vinai


    Chapter 11

    Neither Peace nor Haven: Sussex as Virginia Woolf’s Imagined Hinterland

    Paulina Pająk



    Part IV: Hinterlands Revisited and Reimagined


    Chapter 12

    Lower Silesian Hinterlands: Revisiting and Re-inhabiting the “Recovered Territories” 

    Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak


    Chapter 13

    “There Was Nothing”: Return Journeys and the Creation of (Multi)directional Postmemories in Twenty-First Century Anglophone Novels  

    Mona Becker


    Chapter 14

    Ukrainians in Canadian Hinterlands: Young Adult Historical Fiction on the World War I Internment

    Mateusz Świetlicki


    Chapter 15

    Internal Hinterland: Post-Racial Geography of Los Angeles in Paul Beatty’s The Sellout

    Sascha Pöhlmann




    Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak is Full Professor of English Literature and Comparative Studies at the University of Wrocław, Poland, where she teaches English literature and cultural and adaptation studies. Much of her research has focused on visuality and the nexus of space and literature. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Controversy Over Baroque (Wrocław UP); Visual Seen and Unseen: Insights into Tom Stoppard’s Art (Wrocław U P); and From Concept-City to City Experience (Atut 2013). She co-edited several collections of essays including the latest (with Eva C. Karpinski), Adaptation and Beyond: Hybrid Transtextualities (Routledge 2023), she guest co-edited for the Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, and has been editor-in-chief of Anglica Wratislaviensia (Poland) since 2013.

    Dominika Ferens is an associate professor of American literature at the University of Wrocław, Poland. Much of her research has focused on affect, race, gender, and sexuality in American literature. In Edith and Winnifred Eaton: Chinatown Missions and Japanese Romances (2002), she examined the paradoxes of Orientalism in the writings of two sisters of Chinese-English-Canadian descent. Her book Ways of Knowing Small Places: Intersections of American Literature and Ethnography since the 1960s (2011) looked at literature’s quarrels and affinities with ethnography. Since 2006, she has co-edited the open-access InterAlia: A Journal of Queer Studies.

    Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice is an associate professor of American literature and culture at the University of Wrocław, Poland, where she teaches American literature. She is the author of California and the Melancholic American Identity in Joan Didion’s Novels: Exiled from Eden (2019; paperback edition 2020) and Melancholic Travelers: Autonomy, Hybridity and the Maternal (2007). She co-edited three volumes, Representations and Images of Frontiers and Borders: On the Edge (2022), A Dark California: Essays on Dystopian Depictions in Popular Culture (2017), and Interiors: Interiority/Exteriority in Literary and Cultural Discourse (2010). Her scholarly interests include critical posthumanism and global literatures in English.

    Marcin Tereszewski is an assistant professor at the University of Wrocław, Poland, where he specializes in modern British fiction and literary theory. He is the author of The Aesthetics of Failure: Inexpressibility in Samuel Beckett’s Fiction (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013). His current research interests include an examination of psychogeographical and architectural aspects of dystopian fiction, particularly in relation to J. G. Ballard’s fiction.

    “This book has the potential to make a real contribution to thinking through some of the “other” spaces that figure so importantly—but often so vaguely—in literary and cultural texts.  The collection’s broad range of texts, authors, regions, and time periods provides crucial methodological support for the central contention that hinterlands are necessarily multiplicitous and blurry both geographically and ideologically.”

    Mary Wilson, Associate Professor, English and Communication, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA



    “. . . this is an original perspective on hinterlands, as the book broadens the perspective both geographically and conceptually, pointing to the “hybrid nature of hinterlands” . . . The material is timely. Discussions of place and space generally and hinterlands specifically are very relevant. Considering the very broad scope of the book, geographically and culturally seen, its potential shelf-life is likely long as scholarly emphasis regarding culture and geographical areas may shift over time.”

    Alice Sundman, Postdoc Researcher, Department of English, Stockholm University, Sweden