Towards a Heterotopic Turn: A Selected Analysis of Glück's A Village Life


  • Krishnapriya Institute of English, University of Kerala, India


heterotopia, otherness, transitional states, reconfiguration, fragmented self


“Heterotopia” is a minor concept within Foucault’s oeuvre, but one that has caught the attention of writers across a number of disciplines, particularly within Fine Arts and Geography. The concept appears three times within Foucault’s works: in the preface to The Order of Things ([1966] 2002); in Different Spaces ([1967] 1998); and in a radio recording Le Corps Utopique, Les Hétérotopies ([1966] 2009).  “According to Foucault, heterotopias are spaces that operate to make existing orders legible. By doing so they unsettle received knowledge that is common sense – both revealing and destabilizing the foundations of knowledge. This destabilization renders knowledge opens to critique, introducing contingency into the present and demonstrating that if the order of things is socially produced, then it can be made differently” (Beckett et al. 2016, 4).

Though the poetry of Louise Glück (1943- ) is an exploration of the nuanced relationation between subject and context, there is little doubt on the fact that her texts have earned a spate of critical responses. Drawing from a theoretical apparatus, the Foucauldian concept of heterotopia, this paper focuses on the spatial analysis of Glück's poetry in her collection A Village Life (2009) which is replete with fields, thresholds, windows, with a major focus on her imaginative repertoire of heterotopic spaces including riverside, darkness, lonely fields, cemeteries.