A Geo-Literary Approach to Water
Drawing from the need to deal with multiple water ontologies (Yates et al., 2017), and with the urgency to understand water by intertwining disciplinary methodologies and perspectives, this paper proposes a geo- literary approach to water. In the frame of a growing geographical interest towards waterscapes, fluid spaces and wet ontologies (including both freshwaters and oceans), literary geography can animate water research by questioning literature as one of the places of human-water relationship. The geographies in the text (the spaces and places told), as well as the geographies of the text (in terms of composition and montage, see Brosseau, 1995), can guide us to approach water in manifold ways.
After introducing literary geography in relation to water geocultural studies and ecocriticism, this intervention aims to explore three contemporary literary accounts telling mountainous spaces, where water plays a crucial role. The three literary accounts, and their formal strategies, are called to guide the reading of three different water ontologies: water as character, with the novel Canto jo i la muntanya balla (I sing and the mountain dances) by Irene Solà (2019); water as absence, with the novel Der letzte Schnee (The last snow) by Arno Camenisch (2018); water as place, with the novel Paesi alti (High villages) by Antonio Bortoluzzi (2015).