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Landscapes/Cityscapes Situational Identity in British Literature and Visual Arts (20th-21st Centuries)
Landscapes of the common

Gone up in Smoke: (Un)making the Landscape in Graham Swift’s Wish You Were Here

Parti en Fumée : (Dé)faire le paysage dans Wish You Were Here de Graham Swift
Pascale Tollance


Cet article se penche sur la trajectoire qui se dessine dans l’œuvre de Graham Swift entre Waterland et son paysage mémorable, et Wish You Were Here, où l’on voit au contraire le paysage se défaire dans le carré gris d’une fenêtre qui se remplit de fumée. Prenant pour point de départ l’essai de Jean-Luc Nancy intitulé « Paysage avec dépaysement », l’analyse retient la proposition du philosophe selon laquelle il faut penser le paysage en lien avec le pays: ce qui définit un « pays » tout comme ce qui fait « un paysage » implique une « tenue », une « pertinence » ou une « résonance » et en même temps se fonde sur une distance. Si, dans les deux romans, le lien avec le pays revêt une dimension vitale, l’ancien paysan ne dispose pas des mêmes moyens que le professeur d’histoire pour répondre à l’arrachement traumatique qu’il a subi. Waterland donne au pays magique des Fens « la puissance d’un personnage », selon la formule de son auteur; Wish You Were Here décrit une terre, qui une fois transformée en vaste bûcher, abandonnée et vendue, menace de n’être plus qu’une étendue neutre, vide de toute présence. Si l’on suit Nancy, ce qui disparaît ici avec la dissolution du paysage n’est pas moins que « la possibilité d’un avoir-lieu de sens ».

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1Once upon a time, Graham Swift wrote a novel where, in the author’s own words, ‘the physical setting, a flat, wet region of Eastern England known as the Fens, would play, ironically, a dominant role; would come to have the force, almost, of a principal character’ (Swift 2009, 300). Later, Swift was to puzzle over the fact that his Fens got to feel so real to readers when he had actually never lived there and chose that location ‘precisely because [it] seemed like an absence of setting’ (2009, 300). To that question, the author offers two tentative answers. First, he confesses that ‘in spite of himself’, he has ‘a genuine affection for English landscape’; nothing to do, he adds, with ‘the chauvinistic, or the picturesque, or the sentimental’, but a ‘rather bony, primitive instinct we call love of the land’ (2009, 302). His second point is that the reason why his Fens may have seemed so real is not to be sought outside fiction, but quite the opposite, precisely because they remain ‘an imagined world’, because his ‘landscape is to some degree a landscape of the mind’ (2009, 303).

2Swift’s Waterland is a valuable example of how a landscape comes to be ‘invented’ in Anne Cauquelin’s words: it is, in several respects about the invention of landscape, about the power to create a landscape from scratch, ex-nihilo—whether we talk about the generations who reclaimed the land from the sea in Tom Crick’s narrative, or about the narrator who tries to conjure up the faraway land of his childhood and lay it out on the page. Besides, Waterland invites us to take into account the importance of what we call the ‘land’ in ‘landscape’. As Jean-Luc Nancy underlines, what makes a land cannot be clearly defined: one may say that it is a piece or ‘corner’ of the earth, characterised by ‘what holds you to it’ or by ‘the hold it has on you’. To quote Jean-Luc Nancy:

‘Mon pays’, c’est ce qui relève pour moi de la tenue (j’y tiens, il me tient, ça tient ensemble) et de la pertinence (ça correspond, ça répond, ça fait sens tout au moins comme résonance). C’est pourquoi ‘mon pays’ peut être en même temps et sans aucune contradiction un village et une nation, une région, un quartier, une ville. On dit aussi une ‘terre’ dans un sens proche. Le pays, c’est le coin de terre auquel on tient, par lequel on est tenu […]. (104)

3After years of wandering in various places and much time devoted to ‘streetscapes’ which have their own hold on the imagination, Wish You Were Here marks Swift’s great return to the land—to the land, but not to landscape. This raises a number of questions: if anything, rural Devon, with its strong inscription in the English literary tradition, would have had more potential than the Fens to mark Wish You Were Here as the tale of a land and its landscape. The other paradox is that Swift creates in the figure of Jack Luxton a real ‘landsman’ (Swift 2011, 135), to quote Jack himself, the character closest to the land that he has ever created—somewhat too close perhaps. One may remember Lily’s words in To the Lighthouse: ‘so much depends […] upon distance’ (207). The impression that the landscape has gone missing in Wish You Were Here can be connected with the story of Jack, the farmer who had to build pyres for his own cattle in the thick of the mad cow disease and saw that experience repeated a few years later with the foot and mouth disease. This has left an image, a framed image of smoke rising up in the air which, by compounding several other references in the novel, foregrounds the theme of traumatic violence. In that smoke we can see the fate of the landscape and of the land itself: the ‘magical land’ of Waterland has been replaced by a square of earth, which, after being deserted and sold by those who can no longer tend it, after ties have been undone and history erased, has become just property, a commodity. What has happened to the landscape in Wish You Were Here offers an interesting perspective on Swift’s work. Conversely, that particular trajectory invites us to think more generally about what landscape and the ability to ‘make landscape’ (Cauquelin 94) may involve.

A Matter of Distance

4A landscape, even when one finds oneself in the midst of it, is always somehow before us, facing us and inviting us to face it. In Waterland, the potential for landscapes to appear in front of our eyes is reinforced by the narrator’s frequent use of hypotyposis and his repeated injunctions to the reader to ‘picture the scene’. This invisible mobile frame through which the landscape of the Fens forms itself little by little is matched in Wish You Were Here by the omnipresence of a window and by a number of windows within that window. The largest part of the narrative is told from Jack’s bedroom which looks out to the sea. From that position, Jack casts his mind back and recalls his recent journey back to Devon—a journey spent largely behind a windscreen through which other sights are conjured up. A few passages are narrated from the point of view of Ellie, his wife, who finds herself behind the windscreen of her own car, parked somewhere in the fog and rain. As for the part of the narrative which makes us briefly share the point of view of Tom, the lost brother, it opens with a TV picture of burning cattle.

5Despite its materialisation, the window fails to work here as ‘a magical operator of landscape’ as Gérard Wajcman calls it (238). Tellingly, the incipit of the book opens with a picture, the picture of a yard in which a father and two brothers stand, but just after one page, the frame fills up with smoke:

The three of them had stood there, like the only life left, in the yard at Jebb Farm.
But Michael Luxton hadn’t put his arms round his two sons. He’d done what he’d begun to do, occasionally, only after his wife’s death. He’d looked hard at his feet, at the ground he was standing on, and spat.

And Jack, who long ago took his last look at that yard, looks now from an upstairs window at the grey sea, at a sky full of wind-driven rain, but sees for a moment only smoke and fire. (2)

  • 1 There is a strong echo between this scene (the father and his two sons) and the beginning of chapte (...)

6No ‘stars’ and ‘sluice’ here, as in the incipit of Waterland. No ‘fairy-tale words’, passed on from father to son, opening the gates of ‘a fairy-tale land’1. The reader’s gaze thus goes from the ground to which a father’s eyes are riveted to an indeterminate grey square where the view gets blocked: as smoke fills up the frame of the window, we do not just see an image from the past veiling the grey seascape but witness the erasure of the landscape: lines dissolve, elements merge, grey blends with grey. Instead of the magic words of Waterland’s yarn-spinner, what comes out of the father’s mouth in the first tableau of Wish You Were Here is a ‘substance’ to which, interestingly, the whole of the penultimate section of Waterland—which takes place after the description of the father’s death—is devoted:

About Phlegm

Or Mucus. Or slime. An ambiguous substance. Neither liquid nor solid: a viscous semi-fluid. (344)

7The ability to separate liquid and solid is the condition for the land to exist and to continue to exist in the Fens. In Wish You Were Here, sea and sky merge in the rain even before the story has started, marking the victory of the liquid element that threatens to drown and unmake the landscape at any moment in Waterland. Another parallel may strike the reader: as ‘smoke and fire’ fill the frame of Jack’s window, we cannot help but hear an uncanny echo of the words of disaster Sarah used to repeat in Waterland in her own ‘long and stationary vigil in the upper room’: ‘“Smoke!”, “Fire!”, “Burning”’ (84).

8Jean-Luc Nancy foregrounds the fundamental operation of separation and splitting at work in the landscape:

[Le paysage] ouvre sur lui-même : il ouvre sur ce partage qu’il est lui-même du ciel et de la terre, des nuages et des chênes, cette séparation des éléments en quoi consiste toujours une création.

C’est en ce sens précis que la création a lieu ex nihilo : son matériau et son opération ne sont pas autre chose que la séparation, l’écartement. C’est l’écartement ou la déchirure de ce qui n’est encore rien, ne se distinguant de rien, étant purement vidé de soi. L’écartement lui-même n’est rien : il est la séparation, l’intervalle, la ligne sans épaisseur de l’horizon qui ajointe et disjointe terre et ciel. (116)

The other element Nancy underlines, as others do, is the notion of distance:

Le paysage commence par une notion, fût-elle vague ou confuse, de l’éloignement et d’une perte de vue qui vaut pour l’œil physique comme pour celui de l’esprit. Il en va ainsi, déjà, du pays. Ce qui fait un pays échappe à une determination claire et distincte. (103)

9At the moment when Wish You Were Here opens everything seems to be closing on Jack. Jack Luxton, like Tom Crick, lives now far from the land where he grew up but hindsight tends to take him back to the same few spots, in and around the yard from which the smoke once rose. Not that the place did not have potential. The Luxtons are as old as the hills, but these hills are only mentioned in passing, as a term of comparison: ‘[…] it meant something if you were born, as he was, on a farm: the name. the generations going back and forwards, like the hills, whichever way you looked, around them’ (22).

10There is no space here for the description of the ancestral landscape, no space for that ‘horizon’ which seems to be a fundamental component of the landscape, as Michel Collot points out: ‘L’horizon représente ce manque qui structure toute la totalité signifiante; le paysage ne prend sens qu’à s’y défaire’ (143). By profession, Tom Crick and Jack Luxton do not share the same horizon. Crick is a history teacher, Luxton was, is, and always will be a farmer and ‘a landsman’, despite the fact that his wife got him to move to the Isle of White and renamed their caravan site, formerly known as ‘The Sands’ into ‘The Lookout’. Nancy insists that the farmer, the ‘paysan’ does not simply till the soil, but ‘works at the land’—that place where one belongs, that place which is shaped and shapes one over time: ‘Il y a du paysan dans chacun qui appartient et qui est pris au temps-et-lieu, dans chacun qui fait sien un coin d’ici-et-maintenant le paysan travaille au pays, dans tous les sens de l’expression’ (108).

11At the same time, Nancy underlines that the landscape, which is shaped by the ‘paysan’, involves a form of ‘dépaysement’, a de-familiarisation which starts with the dissolution of those who work ‘in it’ or ‘at it’: ‘Nous pourrions dire que le paysage commence lorsqu’il absorbe ou dissout en lui toutes les présences. […] Dans le paysage, le paysan peut apparaître, mais comme un élément du paysage : il y est tout entier à son occupation, perdu en elle […]’ (111).

12In Waterland, the landscape of the Fens draws its power from its ability to ‘absorb’ the numerous characters that crisscross it: it has ‘the force’, to quote Swift again, ‘almost, of a principal character’. We never feel this more strongly than when Dick is swallowed by the Ouse and literally dissolves into the landscape. As for Tom, whilst a part of him is still woven into that landscape, he is also able to take the larger view and to see himself as one of the small figures that move in and out of the picture. In Wish You Were Here, some kind of ‘dé-paysement’ has taken place for the farmer/‘landsman’ who had to remove himself from the land, but in this case the ‘de-’ can be taken to mark a process of cancellation and erasure—such that the horizon that distance and memory might have opened is abolished. In what he calls ‘the structure of horizon’, Michel Collot insists that some form of loss takes place in the constitution of the landscape: ‘Pour que le paysage se constitue comme espace symbolique et esthétique, il faut qu’il intègre le moment de la perte’ (143). But Collot makes a distinction between ‘immediate space’ where the viewer is threatened by invasion, ‘distant space’ where the object of the gaze appears irretrievably lost and ‘medium space’ where one can avoid both excessive presence and radical loss: ‘L’espace du paysage offre donc bien un espace de vie où le sujet peut s’alimenter au contact des objets sans les détruire et sans en être détruit’ (Collot 142-43). Unlike Tom Crick who inhabits an intermediate space from which he can conjure up the whole history of a land, of its shape and transformations, Jack Luxton seems to stand both too far and too close: too far from a land from which he has been violently uprooted, a land lost for ever; too close to a place to which he has remained viscerally attached, a place to which he still belongs, body and soul. Interestingly in one of the few moments when the eye lifts and tears the veil of the rain, the description quickly shifts from a view of the land to its smell:

But he can see it now: the steep drop away from the farmhouse, the full-summer crown of the oak tree. The hills beyond. The exact lines of hedgerows and tracks running between the gates in them. White dots of sheep, brown and black-and-white dots of cattle. For a moment, though for over ten years now Jack has breathed sea air, which some people find so desirable, he can even smell the land, the breath of the land. The thick, sweaty smell of a hayfield. (Swift 2009, 74)

13The difficulty for Jack to see for any length of time that land with its ‘black-and-white dots’ also comes from the fact that his mind is filled with images that might remain invisible to the reader but that never leave him for long, as is suggested at the beginning of chapter 6 by the abrupt interruption of another of those rare descriptions of the landscape:

Chapter 6

It was deep, difficult but good-looking land, with small patchy fields that funnelled or bulged down to the woods in the valley. They had one field up on a ridge where they grew occasional wheat and autumn feed, otherwise it was down to grass and like almost every farm for miles around: sheep or dairy, and they’d always been dairy—beef calves for sale, and dairy.

Each one of those carcasses that were carted off after the cow disease came as a potential hand-out from the Ministry.’ (41)

14Beside the abrupt shift from ‘calves’ to ‘carcasses’, it is the use of the deictic, ‘those’ which comes as a surprise and does not immediately make sense for the reader. It suggests that Jack, as for him, never really loses sight of a traumatic image that can come in the way of other images at any time and makes it difficult to restore the view of hayfields and green pastures.

A Landscape of Sorts?

15Instead of sweeping views, we get close-ups in Wish You Were Here. Instead of raising the eye to the ‘crown’ of the old majestic oak tree, we go back again and again to the hole left in it by the bullet which went first through his father’s head before lodging itself in the trunk of the old giant. The hole in the oak tree takes on more than one meaning. The attraction it exerts suggests the temptation of an inward movement, a folding in rather than a folding out, the threat of being swallowed inside, in the black hole of a series of traumatic losses. It is in that black hole that the landscape of the English countryside—of which the oak tree is such a familiar feature—has also vanished. What remains then is a frame, a frame which seems reduced to a minimal function. ‘The window puts the wild at a distance’ in the words of Anne Cauquelin (‘la fenêtre met le sauvage à distance’, 105). Here Jack’s bedroom window seems barely to do that with the rain lashing against it, ‘sting[ing] the glass in front of him’ (5), ‘weeping down the window in front of him’ (82). The window is no longer there for the eye’s delight, at the service of the scopic drive. Instead, the window turns into a ‘melancholic machine’ to quote Gérard Wajcman (186)—and yet not of the kind that favours landscape-making, unless we consider that the grey picture of the rain-swept window does form a landscape of sorts. If we think of Waterland’s ‘flat Fens’, it is not so much colour which seems to have gone but a certain brilliance or ‘resonance’ (Nancy 104): the landscape that Swift composes in his third novel is inseparably a visual and a musical landscape, tense and vibrant despite its lack of remarkable features, shaped through and through by the power of affect. In Wish You Were Here, grey, a favourite colour in Swift’s palette, no longer stands side by side with a light whose radiance can be made more powerful or more poignant by contrast, as is the case in The Light of Day. It is the colour of the stark desertion of affect or the colour of impossible mourning which Georges Didi-Huberman describes in Génie du Non-Lieu: ‘à mi-chemin entre une inexistence et une insistance’ (105), the mark of something that is defined by erasure and yet that won’t leave you.

16The grey square of window in which the landscape unmakes itself as it fills up with smoke bears the mark of a double process of effacement. The square of smoke is yet another instance of a close-up which takes the place of the whole picture, a detail which does not simply work as an index or a synecdoche (typically, the smoke signals fire) but marks the need to avert the gaze, to cut out the major part of the picture (the pyres, the carcasses) and move off frame. The pyres Jack had to build remain out of the picture as does Blake’s pyre from ‘A Little Boy Lost’ since we only get the last line of the poem in the epigraph of the novel: ‘Are these things done on Albion’s shore?’ Arguably that process of cutting out allows the narrator—if not Jack—to create within the space of his novel a visual composition which obeys a principle familiar to Swift’s readers: here smoke is seen rising again and again on different T.V. screens—first, close to home, with the pyres of the foot and mouth disease, and then, years later, across the Atlantic, in a bright blue September sky. Tom has seen the same smoke as his brother Jack on another T.V. and ‘kept it in his head’ while in front of his very eyes, over the Iraqi fields, ‘belch of black smoke, after the explosion, rise up above the flat rooftops, over the palm-trees’ (197). Through that repetition a collage emerges which might be called a landscape after all—the landscape of the novel, where the equivalent of what Collot calls ‘a structure of horizon’ can be restored through the ability of the reader to recompose a bigger picture. The multiplication of the same haunting image in that wider frame does not simply enhance a feeling of universal violence: it raises again and again a question about the land, the land threatened to find itself reduced to a neutral expanse of space, ‘an away-from-it-all place’ (284) for rich Londonians, property you can just buy or sell, or further afield, territory you can invade and destroy, no longer a place you ‘keep up’ and that ‘keeps you’(Nancy), a place that ‘meant something’ (22) as Jack puts it. It is in that larger picture too that Nancy’s words find a particular echo: ‘[Le paysage] est représentation du pays en tant que possibilité d’un avoir-lieu de sens’ (112). As Jack stands at the window with a loaded gun it is perhaps no less than the impossibility for sense to ‘take place’ that writes itself in the unmaking of the landscape.

17The role of collage in the alteration of the landscape can, very occasionally, take on a comic form, as in the picture that Jack cuts among his caravans on the Isle of Wight, an island for which he has exchanged his land and which, yielding to his wife’s pressure, he is forced to exchange for a month every year for a Caribbean island:

‘Farmer Jack’. He never quite knew how the word had got around. Farmer Jack, milking his caravans. Here comes Farmer Jack in one of those shirts he got in Barbados. The ones that make your eyes hurt. What would they have thought if they could actually have seen him in the parlour in his faded boiler suit and his wellies? Being barked at by his father. What would his mum have thought if she could see him in one of those shirts? (28)

18The picture we get here is like a cut and paste where the cows first get cut out and replaced by caravans and then where the farmer’s outfit—the ‘blue boiler suit’ and the ‘wellies’—gets pasted over Jack’s loud shirt for the benefit of the holidaymakers; all this before a final switch as Jack imagines his mother’s eyes on him: the farmer milking his cows, clad in a shirt bought in Barbados. The grotesque composition offers mild relief whilst bringing out the ‘dis-location’ experienced by Jack. Jack’s wife might have changed the name of the campsite, formerly ‘The Sands’ to ‘The Lookout’, but she has not managed to tear her husband away from the land. The picture that results from that incomplete transformation may not so much reveal a morbid kind of attachment as the resistance to the idea that you can ‘get away from it all’ and that being in one place or another all ‘means’ the same.

  • 2 For more detail on the place (or ‘non-place’) of enunciation that Swift builds in this novel, see m (...)

19Finally, we must keep in mind that Jack has withdrawn throughout the narrative in a sort of nowhere, the ‘here’ of the title. ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a line scribbled on the back of a postcard during a holiday Jack spent at the seaside as a child. We never get to see the front of the postcard, but just to read the words behind. ‘Here’ is ultimately the place where all the virtual landscapes of the novel get made and unmade, the place which has no fixed coordinates in space and has nothing to offer the eye. But it also designates a place which takes its meaning from someone, a paradoxical point of anchorage where something still ‘holds you’ while you ‘hold on to it’2. From this point, things can / could go either way. By getting Jack to exchange the gun for an umbrella, the end of the novel allows us to hope that the weather may lift yet and the lines of the landscape be restored.

20Of the distance between Waterland and Wish You Were Here something appears in the overall ‘landscape’ of the novel, that collage which forms itself as the narrative cuts across time and space thanks to the repetition of a particular motif. The device, which facilitates transversal connections, is one of the hallmarks of Swift’s fiction. More than a closed and static system of correspondences, it bears the mark of the narrative’s continuous attempt to shape itself around a number of key images and key signifiers, to grow and expand thanks to something other than an overall, predetermined form. This principle of recurrence can nevertheless take on an ambiguous value, as in Waterland where it reaches a form of saturation and where it exposes itself as being, potentially, a contrived and ultimately empty mechanical device. In the narrative, repetition is, after all, what constantly undermines growth and progress. In Wish You Were Here the question comes to bear less on repetition than on substitution, both a key rhetorical tool and a process associated in Jack’s story with forced displacement and with the cancellation of historical markings and individual inscriptions. Despite the ancestral fear of seeing the water rise or the nuclear threat which looms ahead, despite prophecies about ‘the end of history’, Waterland manages to build a shrine for a corner of England kept alive by the tale(s) of the land and to leave the reader with an unforgettable landscape. By contrast, the world of Wish You Were Here is swept by global violence; the novel marks the failure to preserve the land from a brutal erasure dictated by economic imperatives and mercantile laws, a process that finds its logical outcome in Tom’s flight to Iraq. The formal principle of displacement through which the overall picture of the novel forms itself as one square of smoke replaces another cannot be entirely disconnected from a process of ruthless equivalence or indifference: the device does not simply enhance universal violence, but comes very close to borrowing one of its forms. Although subdued, the political message is clear and the reader cannot ignore the thirty years that separate Swift’s ninth novel from his third.

  • 3 See Stef Craps’s monograph, Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift. The idea that trauma i (...)

21The contemporary relevance of this new landscape or of the ‘unmaking’ of the landscape’ in Wish You Were Here also lies in the place given to trauma. If trauma is arguably an omnipresent component of Swift’s fiction,3 it affects very differently the various narrators’ discursive postures and the texture of their narrative, beyond its inscription at a thematic level. In the same way as trauma can be said to have no narrative, one could argue that it has no landscape, so that it fractures or punctures in one way or another the narratives or images that nevertheless try to accommodate it. In Wish You Were Here, one can argue that it is less in the texture of the narrative than in the haunting power of an image that the novel materialises its limit. The eye stuck in front of the grey square of a window may, or may not, recover the ability ‘to make landscape’.

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Blake, William, Complete Poetry and Prose, ed. David V. Erdman, New York: Doubleday, 1988.

Cauquelin, Anne, L’Invention du Paysage (1989), Paris: PUF, 2004.

Craps, Stef, Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift, Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2005.

Collot, Michel, La poésie moderne et la structure d’horizon, Paris : PUF, 1989.

Didi-Huberman, Georges, Génie du non-lieu, Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 2001.

Nancy, Jean-Luc, ‘Paysage avec dépaysement’, Au fond des images, Paris: Galilée, 2003, 101-119.

Swift, Graham, Waterland (1983), London: Picador, 1992.

Swift, Graham, Making an Elephant, Writing From Within, London: Picador, 2009.

Swift, Graham, The Light of Day, London: Hamish Hamilton, 2003.

Swift, Graham, Wish You Were Here, London: Picador, 2011.

Tollance, Pascale. ‘Lieu et non-lieu dans Wish You Were Here de Graham Swift’, Études britanniques contemporaines 47 (December 2014), last accessed at on December 15, 2017, DOI : 10.4000/ebc.1772

Wajcman, Gérard, Fenêtre, Chroniques du regard et de l’intime, Lagrasse: Verdier, 2004.

Woolf, Virginia, To the Lighthouse (1927), London: Penguin, 1992.

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1 There is a strong echo between this scene (the father and his two sons) and the beginning of chapter 5 in Waterland. Interestingly, that chapter entitled ‘A Bruise Upon a Bruise’ is about the discovery of a corpse in the lock. In Wish You Were Here, it is no less than ‘sixty-five head of healthy-seeming cattle’ (1) that have ‘succumbed’ (1) and left the yard where the three men stand empty.

2 For more detail on the place (or ‘non-place’) of enunciation that Swift builds in this novel, see my previous article on Wish You Were Here, published in Ebc 47.

3 See Stef Craps’s monograph, Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift. The idea that trauma is equally relevant in each of Swift’s novels is a matter for discussion.

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Pascale Tollance, « Gone up in Smoke: (Un)making the Landscape in Graham Swift’s Wish You Were Here »Études britanniques contemporaines [En ligne], 55 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2018, consulté le 07 décembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Pascale Tollance

Pascale Tollance is Professor of English at Université Lumière–Lyon 2 (France). She has written extensively on British/Canadian author Malcolm Lowry, as well as on British contemporary authors such as Graham Swift, Julian Barnes, A.S. Byatt, Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Angela Carter, and Rachel Seiffert. She is the author of a book on Graham Swift (Graham SwiftLa Scène de la voix. Villeneuve d’Ascq: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2011) which focuses on the staging of voice in Swift’s fiction. She also works on the relation between text and image and has published with Laurence Petit two collections of articles on punctuation (Point, Dot, Period… The Dynamics of Punctuation in Text and Image and Photographic Text(ure): The Grain and the Dot). She sits on the editorial board of the journal L’Atelier, has co-edited vol. 5.1 (Survivance) and 6.2. (La Transmission) of the journal. Her interests also include post-colonial literatures (with publications on Janet Frame, Alice Munro and J.M. Coetzee).

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