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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2012
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
on 16 February 2009
...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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2008
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
on 12 November 2008
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
on 5 January 2011
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
on 30 October 2009
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2008
I enjoyed this book a lot , being a an avid fan of Iain Sinclair's books 'Lights Out For The Territories' and ' The Edge of The Orison . It does get a bit academic in the chapter about Guy Debord , but otherwise a great introduction to psychogeography. Hopefully this book may encourage readers to seek out books by Sinclair , Ackroyd and others mentioned also!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2013
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. It describes and echoes the experience and development of an interplay between mind and geographical surroundings in rural or urban scenery. How undull life can be, where once it looked only dreary! How important it is to resist "redevelopmet" that drives out humanity and the past. Also it shows how we can conduct imaginery journeys: rooted in Defoe's Robinsin Crusoe; and how actual wandering was first descibed by Defoe's novel on the London Plague, as the familiar became strange.. Roaming idly and observantly in a small area is definitely not time wasted! Here is a reassertion of humaness against rational mechanical destruction.
A book to open your eyes and mind!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2006
A great introduction to psychogeography from Defoe and De Quincey via Debord and the Situationists and on to the present day. Lively, fluent and well researched, this book takes you on a fascinating journey through London, Paris and the literature that these cities have inspired. Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2012
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 this area and right up to current writers in the field.
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