|dc.description.abstract||The city of Venice has sparked the imagination and creativity of many writers, resulting in a large number of literary versions of this city. But how are we to consider the amalgamation of the real and this imagined Venice? In his lecture “Of Other Spaces” (1967), French philosopher Michel Foucault argues we live in a world of simultaneity, rather than linearity and he sees an increased importance for the dimension of space in our experience of the world. Since this space that we are living in cannot be reduced to a single characteristic, Foucault considers it to be of a network-like character. He is especially interested in heterotopias: “spaces which are linked with all the others, which however contradict all the other sites” (24).
The question at the centre of thesis is: What is the value of a heterotopic approach for studying literature? I will study three literaty cases: the novella The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan, the novel The Nature of Blood by Caryl Phillips and the film Don’t Look Now by Nicolas Roeg. As they have only been written in the past forty years, they have not yet acquired a canonical status, and there is still a lot to be written and said about them. The thesis starts with a chapter on Foucault’s lecture ‘Of Other Spaces’ and a discussion of his heterotopia concept, followed by an overview of the most dominant themes that have influenced and shaped the literary imagination of Venice; and finally the three case studies.
I will conclude with the argument that heterotopic literature is literature that fulfils a ‘different’ task. It distinguishes itself from fellow texts by spatiality and form: presented with a defamiliarizing appearance, it can force the reader to think over the meaning of this otherness. This literature can use other texts, by reflecting or inverting their forms and themes. Foucault’s heterotopia offers a framework to analyse this otherness and to place the link between the real and the imagined space. Heterotopic literature is both the other space (the counter-space of reality), and the other literature.||