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Psychogeography (Pocket Essential series) [Kindle Edition]

Merlin Coverley
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Psychogeography. Increasingly this term is 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? Psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet in assessing the emotional and behavioural impact of urban space. The relationship between a city and its inhabitants is measured in two ways - firstly through an imaginative and literary response, secondly on foot through walking the city. From Urban Wandering to the Society of the Spectacle, from the Dérive to Détournement, Psychogeography provides us with new ways of apprehending our surroundings, transforming the familiar streets of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected. This guide conducts the reader through this process, offering both an explanation and definition of the terms involved, an analysis of the key figures and their work as well as practical information on Psychogeographical groups and organisations.


Product Description

Review

'A short, but valuable book.' --Niall Griffiths, The Daily Telegraph

'A short guide to psychogeography for beginners.' -- Sukhdev Sandhu, The New Statesman

'Helps explain why psychogeography has become such a buzzword in Britain...an insightful
examination' --Machenalia

'A fascinating read.' --Buzz Magazine

`It would be a fitting tribute to Coverley's unfussy and informative book if it encouraged people in
other cities to try psychogeography.'
--Stuart Kelly, Scotland On Sunday

Synopsis

Psychogeography. Increasingly this term is used to illustrate a bewildering array of ideas from key 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 Situationist Movement of the 1950s, exploring the theoretical background and its political applications as well as the work of early practitioners such as Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem. Elsewhere, psychogeographic ideas continue to find retrospective validation in much earlier traditions from the visionary writing of William Blake and Thomas De Quincey to the rise of the flaneur on the streets of 19th century Paris and on through 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 and Peter Ackroyd, Stewart Home and Patrick Keiller.

From Urban Wandering to Cognitive Mapping, from the Derive to Detournement, "Psychogeography" provides us with new ways of apprehending our surroundings, transforming the familiar streets of our everyday experience into something new and unexpected. This guide conducts the reader through this process, offering both an explanation and definition of the terms involved, an analysis of the key figures and their work as well as practical information on Psychogeographical groups and organisations.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 348 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Essentials (9 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q27ZJ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,699 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychogeography - Merlin Coverely 8 May 2012
By Bookish
Format:Paperback
Overall, this is a good little book; it explores psychogeography in acessible but still thought-provoking terms. It's not an academic book, which makes it all the more readable, but don't expect anything too detailed dense from it. Use this as an introduction to the concepts/contexts etc. It also has a chapter discussing the rooting of psychogeography in London through de Quincey and Stevenson etc., and with it being what I had thought was more of a Parisian concept, that was particularly interesting!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As straightforward as the title suggests... 16 Feb. 2009
Format:Hardcover
...although it could have been called "Psychogeography - an overview" or "introduction". Coverly succeeds in giving the reader a cogent, lyrical and sober account of the roots and genetic history of the subject. It could so easily have been a wilfully obscure or overly complicated un-decoding of the subject and ended up as a pretentious meta text that would have succeeded in doing no more than proving how difficult Psychogeography is to pin down, let alone articulate. However, full marks (well, four out of five) to Coverly for writing a book that explains clearly the 'who what how and why' of Psychogeography. The only minor criticism is that there is some repetition of content which makes it read occasionally like a very good undergraduate dissertation. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as at least you do feel as though your are being directed by a passionate voice through the back alleys of this playful and curious subject.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and narrow 29 May 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this on the strength of the other reviews and wish now I hadn't wasted my money. The book is badly produced (you need a better editor, proof reader, and setter, Mr C), is extremely narrow in its scope, and concentrates only on those aspects of the subject that are already well known.

As a subject, psychogeography predates civilization (pagan peoples knew how geography was integral to psychology). The concentration on recent urban p-g, and the insistence that only London and Paris really count (despite a nod to New York) ignores the long rural tradition as well as p-g in other urban settings around the world.

The author's knowledge and understanding of Alfred Watkins' work and its impact is poor. Which leads one to wonder just how well he really knows the rest of the subject. His attempt to assert that Ackroyd is outside the tradition as he somehow conservative rather misses the point that urba p-g as a whole is both conservative and somewhat obsessed with the notion of a golden age.

Where the book does have a strength is in pointing out that for some people p-g is a method to some other end rather than an end in itself. Attempts to turn it into a science have so far met with failure simply because the amount of data required to make any form of realistic assessment are simply overwhelming. As an artistic method (particularly in literature and film) it is highly sucessful as it seems that an artistic sensibility and sensitivity are required to process and interpret a landscape and the figures that move within it.

There are better books on the subject. But anyone wanting to know what p-gis would be far better off seeking out p-g artists and writers.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hand in chtcheglov 12 Nov. 2008
Format:Hardcover
i have sympathy for the positive and the negative reviews of this book, though i must say i zipped through it and liked it a lot. it is a 'pocket essential' introduction to the ideas of psychogeography. it traces psychogeography from bases in london (defoe, machen, blake, de quincey, sinclair, home, keiller) and paris (baudelaire, benjamin, debord). It introduces the ideas and although there is much left out [i personally think frank o'hara is the psychogeographer of new york] and although it is very london-paris-centric it does raise questions and gives interesting facts. Not bad at all, but I'm waiting on a really really great intro to psychogeography. oh and i agree with the reviewer who said merlin requires a better editor and proof reader. i went looking for chtcheglov's name spelled chtchelgov, since that is how it is spelled at one time in the book, and at others it is spelled correctly. i mean: is it not a difficult enough name as it is???
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars understanding what psychogeography is 5 Jan. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book out of all others I have looked at for understanding psychogeography - its history, influences, definition, and urban wandering and the people involved.Its an easy read and really motivates you to do your own psychogeography whilst walking - you can take yourself, your dog, friend, child or invisible traveler - who knows!
It has been so beneficial for me in writing my thesis about identity to place - it helps explain in an interesting way what places we live in the world and how they change all the time in a physical sense with the same speed as the latest fashion or tv channels - without us realising... you will see your home town, street appear in a new way.... there are some great artists utilising these concepts all the time and this is the reason I selected this book and so glad I had because Coverley covers this topic really well and I applaud him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Despite Pilgrim's mostly accurate (but rather unkind) review, this is an engaging introduction to psychogeography's London/Paris-centric literary aspects. If you take it as a good analysis of this one facet, you'll be more than well enough rewarded. Time for "updated and enlarged" Mr Coverley?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this unilluminating waste of money
Psychogeography. Increasingly this term is used to illustrate a bewildering array of ideas from ley lines and the occult, to urban walking and political radicalism. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lu Yuping
1.0 out of 5 stars This Merlin is clearly not a wizard
I'll save you the labour of reading this masterpiece of vagueness, those of you with the 'tl;dr' disposition: pick up any book by Sinclair, Debord, Ackroyd or Defoe and you have a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by SE
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book
Published 4 months ago by Andres Auteri
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good
Published 5 months ago by James of Liverpool
3.0 out of 5 stars Meandering.
Good introduction to the range of ideas, and books on the subject. Trouble is that Psychogeography is now institutionalized. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anthony.
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly fascinating
This book opens a whole new world to anyone not familiar with the delights and conundrums of urban wandering, and gives confidence to those who are. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Senex 72
5.0 out of 5 stars using it for an article
It has a complete overview of the concept of psychogeography which is what I wanted so good material. Very useful.
Published 21 months ago by Faye
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice intro
Great introduction and history to the
subject and a starting point further reading about this subject for any one new to the subject
Published on 24 April 2013 by stuart allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Overview
A useful and straightforward overview of a complex but intriguing subject - a useful way of signposting follow up directions.
Published on 14 Nov. 2012 by Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a hard-to-define subject
Good book about a current idea that theorists struggle to pin down. Works through a couple of different historical perspectives from the Flanneur, through the Surrealist take on... Read more
Published on 23 Oct. 2012 by E. Ditchburn
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