The woods have no meaning in themselves, but the woods at night in Robert Frost’s poems are rich in meaning. Fictitious places in literary works can carry meanings composed of multiple intentions and expectations, and even become a place of charm, full of ambiguity, and begging to be read.
I teach an introduction to American literature from 1865 to the present. The 20th-century modernist poet and doctor William Carlos Williams of Rutherford, New Jersey was one of the subjects of study for me and my students. “Patterson” is his epic masterpiece, but most college students and ordinary readers are more familiar with his lifelike imagist short chapters, including “The Red Wheelbarrow” which is widely included in various anthologies: “So many/dependence//a red/trolley//drenched in it’s shining/rain//a flock of/white chickens.”
”Red Trolley” is reminiscent of a certain kind of place, it may be a farm, but Not a specific one. However, Williams’ attention to it highlights our dependence on it. By presenting such a place in a poem, Williams praises ordinary things, while guiding our attention and imagination in a new and dramatic way. Those who become loyal fans of Williams will study “Patterson.” This multi-volume collection of poems focuses on Patterson’s image as a person and the city itself. The strong local appeal is its greatness. At this point, Williams was influenced by James Joyce—Noah Feto Patterson and Leopold Bloom walked out of the contours of their respective cities in ways that others could hardly imitate. The topographic map of the city is the core of Williams’ aesthetics.
Traveling to places with strong literary meaning is in the ascendant. Ireland is a cultural tourism region that has been thoroughly studied. What people get from their literary journey can be attributed to the human search for meaning. I, a literary appreciator and teacher, are particularly interested in subjectivity, that is, how the individual interpretation of the poems or fictional works we read can stimulate our imagination and enhance our understanding of the world in which we live.
In 2011, Barbara Schaff, a travel writing researcher at the University of Göttingen, Germany, investigated the semiotic meaning of several types of literary destinations:
——Places related to the author’s life;
——Also present in real-world fictional works The place;
——in the literary works purely imagined, but can be used for real-world tourism.
The original intention of the tourists who studied these scenic spots led her to come to the conclusion that literary tourism is a complex cultural practice, which combines the traveler’s “walking through hermeneutics with the curiosity as a reader, mobilizing and controlling the eyes”. From the perspective of literary criticism, her “Walk in Hermeneutics” is a good summary of the “bending and winding” nature of text interpretation, and readers extract meaning from the text and derive meaning based on their own and cultural tendencies Countless kinds of intentional and unintentional ways.
I also like to help my students understand the tendency of interpretation by analogy with travel. We give the text the expectation derived from our roots and paths. Our roots include our physical and psychological starting point, and our path is the path we have traveled in life.
My roots are a middle-class Catholic family in Hackensack, New Jersey. My path took me to Dublin to teach English. In high school, I read excerpts from “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. This story about the giants coming to the Lilliputian Country is fascinating, and we know its original meaning is ironic. However, apart from singularity and humor, we did not delve into the irony of this story. Now, through my eyes as an adult who immigrated to Ireland, I have captured its multiple criticisms of colonial hegemony. To some extent, my path has replaced my roots.
Schaff compares reading to a “hermeneutics stroll driven by curiosity”, because like a stroll, reading for pleasure is beneficial, leisurely, and exciting. If you describe a place Let us be there, it can even be a pleasant scenery. Contrary to the real world we live in, we can imagine the giant Gulliver being tied to the beach by the people of Lilliputian before waking up immobile. If we want to experience the commercial and reasonable use of “Gulliver’s Travels”, we can go to Gulliver’s Theme Park Resort. In some places like this, the interpretation of the location in the book depends on financial rewards. The tendency of presentation is also for profit, and the book itself has actually become a brand image.
In other places inspired by fictional works, the interpretation of the works may be based on moral and emotional principles. The term hermeneutics was originally related to the interpretation of the Bible, but Schaff uses it in a modern sense to recognize it as a bridging behavior that connects the thoughts of the author and the reader. The locations described in the works, whether they are real or imagined, will arouse readers’ diverse associations, because the scene is indispensable to the theme. The scenes in James Joyce’s “Dubliners” can jump into the reader’s mind at any time because of Joyce’s true portrayal of the Irish urban temperament at the turn of the century. Joyce’s Dublin is stored in the book, in the reader’s mind, and in the real world. Enthusiastic readers/visitors can not only help the interpretation through field trips, but also can stroll through the works in real life.
There is another type of place in literary works, even if they are fabricated, they also have a strong emotional appeal. Patafa County, Yorkna, Mississippi, is depicted in many novels by William Faulkner. It does not exist on any official map of the area, but it is a deep demonstration of a declining racism. The southern aristocratic lineage provides complicated scenes.
Faulkner’s readers experience overflowing abundance, a place where clan values are declining, but their perspective is not so appropriate as it is aggressive, because York Napatafa County is not real and cannot be taken. Cut”. It is similar to a real county in Mississippi, but it doesn’t actually exist. Therefore, the actualization and interpretation of locations in Faulkner’s works are restricted by the interaction between the words on paper and the reader’s imagination, rather than referring to locations in the real world.
Sometimes, with the help of the intersection of the real world and the fictional world, there will be a particularly rich interpretation. For example, when a place set in a literary work actually exists in the real world, it may inspire the creation of another literary or cultural work that has not yet appeared, and then be used to generate a kind of spiritual food.
According to Stanislaus Joyce in the book “The Man Who Guards My Brother: The Early Years of James Joyce”, when Joyce explained that he wanted to “by transforming daily bread into a The things that have their own eternal artistic life, give people a certain intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment”, he thought of this kind of food. It is too high to ask any fictional place to provide spiritual food, but when the nutrients that form the place do “produce”, let’s put it this way, it is really a generous gift to the reader.
Take the 2016 movie “Patterson” directed by Jim Jamush and starring Adam Driver, it also contains a real gift. Patterson, played by Driver, is a bus driver and poet in Patterson. He loves the poems of William Carlos Williams very much. He met a Japanese literary tourist at Paterson Falls, a natural sight in the city that occupies a prominent place in Williams’ poems, and was also a poet who also loved Williams’ works.
We found that this scene presents such a creative place, and it ends with (the tourist/poet giving the local poet) a blank notebook for writing. In my opinion, it perfectly depicts a literary place that provides a sustainable understanding of the world we live in. The place where generosity occurs, the roots of the individual and the path of others make the place as important as it is. The place. This is really a land of fertility.