Endotic Englishness: Meades, Perec and the everyday curiosities of place

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Publication details

Title of host publicationGeorge Perec's Geographies
DateAccepted/In press - Jun 2019
PublisherUCL Press
EditorsCharles Forsdick, Richard Phillips, Andrew Leak
Original languageEnglish


By reading Georges Perec alongside another post-war writer with whom he has affinities – Jonathan Meades – this chapter brings ‘everyday curiosities’ into focus. These curiosities, which both Perec and Meades exemplify and inspire, revolve around memory, materiality and place – interconnected themes that are illustrated and unpacked in the course of this chapter. Meades is a writer whose work since the 1980s has encompassed novels, short stories, food writing and architectural criticism for literary journals and British broadsheet newspapers. Since the 1990s, he is best known for his sequence of BBC film essays, primarily on architecture. These films avoid the clichés of much mainstream arts broadcasting and instead offer visually inventive commentaries on built environments and their cultural histories. The originality of his approach across media, and the variety of forms in which he contributes creative and robust critiques of architecture and its orthodoxies, indicates the ease with which Meades crosses intellectual traditions. The scope and span of Meades’s interests, I will argue in this chapter, share the interdisciplinary reach of Perec’s work, and similarly illustrate the value of adopting a curiosity-driven approach to our everyday materialities and landscapes, in order to re-animate our understanding of them.

    Research areas

  • Jonathan Meades, Georges Perec, Landscape, everyday, Curiosity

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