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Maps and TerritoriesGlobal Positioning in the Contemporary French Novel$
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Joshua Armstrong

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786942012

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786942012.001.0001

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Sense of Planet

Sense of Planet

Marie Darrieussecq’s Le pays

(p.195) Chapter Eight Sense of Planet
Maps and Territories

Joshua Armstrong

Liverpool University Press

Chapter Eight, ‘Sense of Planet,’ reads Marie Darrieussecq’s Le pays (2005), whose narrator is fascinated with geography and constantly ponders her place on this planet. Whereas the cartographic nature of traditional, typically masculine, geographical thinking radically divides the subject from the world by reducing the former to a two-dimensional representation, Darrieussecq’s narrator’s geographical musings begin with a simple fact that explodes the two-dimensional: ‘But the world is a sphere.’ Pregnancy provides a mise en abyme situating her as contained within but also containing a world. Darrieussecq establishes a liminal space of narration that ultimately resists what is for Peter Sloterdijk the ‘basic neurosis of Western civilization’ at the source of today’s spatial crisis: namely, the necessity to ‘have to dream of a subject that watches, names and owns everything, without letting anything contain, appoint or own it.’ Le pays defies this paradigm of globe-alizing encompassing mastery, insisting on sphericity and volume, producing senses of place that are as placental as they are planetary. This chapter reads Darrieussecq in light of Sloterdijk’s theories on spheres of belonging and Ursula K. Heise’s notion of sense of planet.

Keywords:   Marie Darrieussecq, Le pays, Peter Sloterdijk, Ursula K. Heise, Sphere, Sense of planet, Basque, Mise en abyme, Geography, Cartography

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