The Textual Ecology of the Palimpsest: Environmental Entanglement of Present and Past

Mary Kristen Layne


Utilizing the metaphor of the palimpsest, this paper looks at layering processes at work in the natural world and human perceptions of it, paying particular attention to the manifestations of the past visible in constructions in and of the landscape. History is made of constant reformations, in which pieces of the past make up the present. The palimpsest offers a useful tool for discussing a trans-temporal landscape. The layers of landscape construction go beyond the literal geological construction, encompassing human pasts and presents as well. Engaging the palimpsestuous layers at work in physical and textual landscape construction allows us to place human endeavours into more expansive notions of temporality.


metaphor; palimpsest; textual representation; cultural landscape; temporality

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