Marcel Proust: À la recherche du temps perdu

In his novel "À la recherche du temps perdu" (In Search of Lost Time) Proust wrote:

"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes; in seeing the universe through the eyes of another, one hundred others - in seeing the hundred universes that each of them sees."

That attitude underpins this web site, which is all about exploration, discovery, knowing. The aim of Geography is to see more, and one way to see more is to see through different people's eyes, to take on board their experiences, their attitudes, their viewpoints. Our aim as Geographers is to be able to see in the landscape the things that a variety of other different types of people see, and to absorb their perspectives into our own. By having conversations with artists, poets or engineers, by seeing landscape through their eyes, we can begin to notice the things that they notice.

Proust also wrote:

“The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience.”

Thinking of a place in terms of those characteristics that can be mapped in physical space gives us only a very superficial impression of the nature of the place. There is more to "place" than that. The concept of place is very important in Geography, and will be explored in more detail elsewhere on this site. Consider, for example, the work of Yi Fu Tuan (link to follow, be patient). Proust's comment also raises the issue of maps, which will also be important to us...

Marcel proust in 1900: image from Wikimedia commons.

Marcel Proust.
Image: wikimedia commons

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