In recent years the term "psychogeography" has been used to illustrate a bewildering array of ideas from ley lines and the occult, to urban walking and political radicalism. But where does it come from and what exactly does it mean? This book examines the origins of psychogeography in the Paris of the 1950s, exploring the theoretical background and its political application in the work of Guy Debord and the Situationists. Psychogeography continues to find retrospective validation in much earlier traditions, from the visionary writing of William Blake and Thomas De Quincey to the rise of the flâneur and the avant-garde experimentation of the Surrealists. These precursors to psychogeography are discussed here alongside their modern counterparts, for today these ideas hold greater currency than ever through the popularity of writers and filmmakers such as Iain Sinclair, Will Self and Patrick Keiller. From the urban wanderer to the armchair traveller, psychogeography provides us with new ways of experiencing our environment, transforming the familiar streets of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected. Merlin Coverley conducts the reader through this process, providing an explanation of the terms involved and an analysis of the key figures and their works.
About the Author
Merlin Coverley is a writer and bookseller. He is the author of two Pocket Essential guides—Utopia and London Writing—as well as The Art of Wandering, Occult London, and South.
"This little book does exactly what an introduction should; it examines, explains, and whets the appetite... It has an extensive bibliography and an index of websites, research into which has been clearly and cogently utilised. It is a short, but valuable, book." —Telegraph
"A timely and welcome—if also a rather short and extremely accessible—introductory book. . . . Coverley’s clarity is a real strength, and Psychogeography is an ideal book for anyone wanting a brief overview of some of the key names, ideas, texts and places associated with the subject." —Literary London