Author(s): Merlin Coverley
In recent years this term 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 experimentatin 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.