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The Cartographic Representation and Analysis of (Slovene) Writer-Careers: Methodology and First Results of the Slovene Project

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This paper is part of the first phase of the research project “The Space of Slovenian Literary Culture” (2011–2014). One of the central aims of the project is to map, with the help of GIS, the literary biographical data of prominent Slovene writers from the beginnings of aesthetic production in the Slovene lands (1779) until 1940, before the WW II began in the Slovene lands. Data selection for mapping entries and the means of their representation follow critically the more recent achievements in literary geography (H. D. Schlosser), whose key work on literary mapping was published in 1983. The literary maps are extremely important to us from the point of view of the series of biographical data selected. Taking their solutions into account together with the purposes of the Slovene project, we offer some suggestions for the formation of thematic analytical maps to facilitate a contemporary areal analysis of Slovene literary culture.


  • Literary culture
  • Thematic analytical literary maps
  • Spatial development patterns
  • GIS

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  1. 1.

    The term literature is thus understood from the viewpoint of modern systems and contextual methods. It is conceived of as a partly autonomous system in which texts are inseparably connected with the literary activities of production, distribution, reception and processing, the media and institutions (Schmidt 1980; Perenič 2008, 2010).

  2. 2.

    It is also impossible to overlook the reverse influences on (social) geographic space; how literature has through symbolic representations influenced the apprehension of the ethnically Slovene space.

  3. 3.

    Highlights refer to the so-called spatial data that will be visualized.

  4. 4.

    Connections in the literary field refer to personal contacts, circles of friends, to teaching and mentor relationships. Non-literary connections refer to authors’ contacts with important people who were active in other fields (other areas of artistic endeavour, science, religion, politics, etc.).

  5. 5.

    To name one representative example—the legendary Defoe’s robinsonade with its pictorial map.

  6. 6.

    Miran Hladnik and Jerneja Fridl: Space and its geographical presentation in Slovene historical narratives (2012).

  7. 7.

    The atlas also includes, more radical changes which have been separately mapped into socio-political relationships connected to revolution and other forms of progressive social revolt that influenced the culture and literary events. For example, maps showing the political division of the empire, the social and religious revolts, or the reactions to the tumult of the French Revolution.

  8. 8.

    In this group we could place maps of German post-war emigration, because we are similarly dealing with a larger group of people, only that here, in comparison to the artistic movements, people are connected by migration.

  9. 9.

    The structure of the entry is more differentiated than Nagel’s and Nadler’s.

  10. 10.

    In all, there are thirteen examples and they discuss the (dependent) relationships among the various variables; e.g., the dynamics of the literary types and genres in the passage of time or in the course of the literary phenomena within their temporal and spatial coordinates.

  11. 11.

    Therefore, misunderstandings are possible. From the enclosed text accompanying the representation, it is otherwise clear that Schlosser tried to show the critical conflict between the authors, even though the light green circle used for the place of study would rather suggest Lessing’s study of the French Enlightenment writer’s works.

  12. 12.

    Similarly the relationships among the locations and the works of Jean Paul are shown (Schlosser 1987: 172). For instance, Schwarzenbach, where the writer was managing a private school, is provided with titles, since the teachers are the literary characters. This explains the role of a relevant place for literary planning.

  13. 13.

    Leipzig has data attached about legal studies; a timeline and the information about its rococo characteristics are also given. Strasbourg has indicated contacts with Herder; Wetzlar is supplied with information about the lawyer's clerk practice. From there an orange arrow points to The Sorrows of Young Werther, because the author supposedly received his first inspiration for this epistolary novel in Leipzig. The number 6 indicates Goethe's trip to Switzerland, which took place shortly before his departure for Weimar.

  14. 14.

    The information about his studies of law and medicine is attached to Stuttgart, the performance of The Robbers on a stage in Mannheim, where we also find the information about his essays or speeches about drama and theater art (Die Schaubühne als moral. Anstalt). It is evident from the representation that in Dresden, which he visited on account of his mother’s unbearable material situation, he struck up friendships. We can also see how many and which works were written there. If we follow the arrow, we arrive at Weimar, where he established more intimate contacts with Herder, Wieland, and others.

  15. 15.

    Consequently, a number of different characters are used—from ordinary arrows to musical symbols—which is not necessarily a factor to be deplored, but the problem lies with the standardization and with the functionality of displays.

  16. 16.

    E.g., a connection between the place of publication and the literary activity or between the place of work and the memorial events or the connection of places of networking, writing and publishing etc.

  17. 17.

    Secondary education is not necessarily a (solely) positive factor.

  18. 18.

    I have analysed the reading societies network from the standpoint of socio-geographic factors (demographic structure, administrative, political, judicial organizations, development of the educational system) in the 1860s (Perenič 2012a).

  19. 19.

    For the constructive scientific debate about the possibilities and potentials of the literary mapping, I am much obliged to my colleague Jerneja Fridl, who is both a geodesist and a cartographer.

  20. 20.

    I presented them at a comparative literature colloquium in Lipica (2012).

  21. 21.

    Within Carniola, Gorenjska has nine authors, followed by Dolenjska and Notranjska with four. V. Vodnik, Z. Kveder, J. Cigler, and J. Murn were born in Ljubljana; S. Grum was born in Zasavje.

  22. 22.

    Three were from Trieste, which at the end of the nineteenth century was becoming an important Slovene literary center (the women’s newspaper Slovenka was published there starting in 1897). One author was from Štandrež in Goriško, which today is in Italy.

  23. 23.

    Because we respect the time frame, we do not count F. Cegnar and J. V. Koseski, who died in Trieste. In contrast, J. Bagarič is counted among those who died in Hungary because Prekmurje was attached to Slovenia only several months later.

  24. 24.

    The same would be true of F. Balantič, who died in battle at Grahovo in Notranjska.

  25. 25.

    J. Burgar died in Šmartno near Litija.

  26. 26.

    I. Hribovšek’s place of death is unknown.

  27. 27.

    As concerns places of employment, it will also be necessary to take into consideration non-spatial data (e.g., occupational profile) that can be pinpointed geographically. In the cases of priests, the Roman Catholic Church played a significant role in their settlement, sending them to serve in different places.


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Perenič, U. (2014). The Cartographic Representation and Analysis of (Slovene) Writer-Careers: Methodology and First Results of the Slovene Project. In: Rau, S., Schönherr, E. (eds) Mapping Spatial Relations, Their Perceptions and Dynamics. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham.

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