Papastergiadis, Nikos. Modernity as Exile: The Stranger in John Berger’s Writing. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1993.
Scribner, Charity. “John Berger, Leslie Kaplan, and the Western Fixation on the ‘Other Europe’.” Inszenierungen des kollektiven Gedächtnisses. Ed. Moritz Csáky. Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2002.
Simon, Roger. Gramsci’s Political Thought: An Introduction. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1982.
Soja, Edward W. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. London: Verson, 1989.
The Spectre of Hope. Dir. Paul Carlin. Minerva Picture Company, 2000. DVD.
Ways of Seeing. Dir. John Berger. British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972. DVD.
Welz, Stefan. Ways of Seeing – Limits of Telling: Sehen und Erzählen in den Romanen John Bergers. [Ways of Seeing – Limits of Telling: Seeing and Telling in John Berger’s Novels] Eggingen: Klaus Isele, 1996.
Williams, Raymond. Modern Tragedy. London: Verso, 1979.
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1 The quotations are taken from Berger’s The Look of Things (40) and Keith and Pile’s Place and Politics of Identity (4) respectively.
2 For a detailed discussion of space being produced by social practices see Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space (1-67).
3 I am handling the two concepts of space and place in very basic terms. For a profound discussion of their evolution in philosophical thinking see Edward Casey’s The Fate of Place.
4 The quotation is taken from Papastergiadis (35).
5 The second half of the original German title Ways of Seeing – Limit of Telling: Sehen und Erzählen in den Romanen John Bergers translated by me.
6 For more information about the development of “Marxist Writing” in England and Berger’s position in this development see Welz (11-23).
7 I am using the male form of pronouns here, since A Fortunate Man deals with the experience of male migrant workers only.
8 From the German original “Ich kann mir vorstellen, daß zukünftige Leser einige dieser Geschichten nicht bloß als Rückblick auf Vergangenes lesen, sondern als Beispiele, wie man vielleicht leben könnte” translated by me.
9 The quotation is taken from an interview with Berger “Takt ist vielleicht die erste Gabe der dichterischen Einbildungskraft: Ein Gespräch mit John Berger” in Bogen 47 (10).
10 Politically, Gare in fact proposes an organization of “multi-leveled nationalism” (153) based on thinking about one’s place in the world without atomizing the world or dismissing each part into the totality. Being aware of the danger of nationalistic conservatism, the national community in his understanding is one of adaptable and porous boundaries and is thus not enclosed to broader regional or world community. For more details see Gare 152-3.
11 In “Why Look at Animals”, Berger also comments on the social significance of ZOOs where, according to his essay, humans confirm their superior position to animals while looking at them. Berger discusses the nature of the artificial environment of ZOOs and some of its destructive impacts on animals held in captivity and suggests that they, to a great degree, function as a social means of confirming the superior position of humans. However, the essay not only points out that humans have lost a relationship of companionship offered to people by animals. On a deeper level, the essay also seems to be suggesting that by placing themselves to the sort of superior position as described in the essay, humans are also depriving themselves of a confirmation of something they have in common with animals, a sort of a bodily kind of perception. This point is also apparent in a couple of other Berger’s essays, such as “Opening a Gate”, “Ernst Fischer: A Philosopher and Death” or even in his considerably underrated novel King: A Street Story.
12 In, for example, a poem called “Hay”, the earth is assimilated to the female body and a female figure when grass is “her hair” and stones her “hands” (Berger, PE 93). By the act of scything, the scythes are gasping “as her clothes fall down” and hay becomes the poem’s I’s a “second wife under the roof” (Berger, PE 94).
13 A “Maquisard” or "maquis" was a member of the French rural guerrilla composed of, at first, men who had escaped deportation to Germany to provide forced labour. Gradually, they were joined by other citizens and their bands became strong groups of the French Resistance. (I draw this information from www.britannica.com.)
14 It is not without interest that in the theatre version of “The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol” adapted by Mark Wheatley and Simon McBurney, Lucie Cabrol is played by an actor.
15 See Berger’s essay “Walter Benjamin” in which he advocates some of Benjamin’s ideas about history.
16 As the note on pp. 261 in Illuminations explains, by “Jetztzeit” Benjamin does not simply mean an equivalent to Gegenwart, that is, present. He is thinking of the mystical nunc stans, i.e. the eternal Now.
18 The quotation is taken from an online interview with Berger “Living and Writing the Peasant Life.”
19 In his Ways of Seeing – Limits of Telling, Stefan Welz presents a very detailed insight into the aesthetic aspects of the novel’s multiplicity of genre and perspectives. See Welz pp. 141-151.
20 Welz also gives a very thorough analysis of the novel’s dealing with history. See Welz pp. 152-8.
21 Berger expressed his sympathies with feminism of the late 60s and early 70s by dedicating the book to women in the civil right movements. The opening inscription in the novel reads: “For Anya and for her sisters in Women’s Liberation.”
22 The existential overtones of the story are especially accentuated by the short story of the two bears that Stepan tells Odile (140-1).
23 For more information about Berger’s existentialism and its inspirational sources, see Welz’s chapter “John Berger: Early Intellectual Positions in a Socially Historical Context” (32-53). (The original title of the chapter “John Berger: Frühe geistige Positionen in ihrem Verhältnis zum sozialhistorischen Umfeld” translated by me.)
24 The quotations are taken from Wordsworth’s Prelude, Book VI, lines 635-40 (207) and Berger’s AOF (67) respectively.
25 For more information on the economic and political mechanisms of global capital accumulation see David Harvey’s concise and insightful A Brief History of Neoliberalism which provides a globale-scale mapping of the capital flows in the last three decades. Concentrating on four figures of international politics (Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet, Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher), Harvey presents arguments pointing to how the neoliberal and neoconservative politics benefited primarily the well-off and how the global poverty has increased over the last thirty years.
26 In The Condition of Postmodernity, Harvey argues that the “objective conception of time and space are necessarily created through material practices and processes which serve to reproduce social life” (204).
27 See for example the last chapter “Freedom’s Prospect” of A Brief History of Neoliberalism for Harvey’s proposals of a global class-struggle.
28 Though I find Harvey’s analyses of the capital flows very cogent when related to the production of social space, I also agree with for example Doreen Massey who sees Harvey as too confident in his privileging Marxism as a perspective which can unify the world. In her paper “Power-geometry and a progressive sense of place”, Massey argues that for Harvey, “[i]t is capitalism and its developments which […] determine our understanding and our experience of space” (60). To this, however, she opposes by saying that such a perspective is “clearly insufficient. There are many other things that clearly influence that experience, for instance, ethnicity and gender” (Massey 60).
29 For more information on the concept of “glacial time” and its relation to environmental movements, see Manuel Castells’ The Rise of the Network Society (498).
30 In The Condition of Postmodernity, David Harvey presents his concept of “time-space compression” (206-307) which, in its argument, is similar to Castells’ concepts of the space of flows and timeless time. Harvey presents a much more detailed analysis of cultural expressions which are more and more negating meaning. However, I give priority to Castells’ analysis in my discussion, since, compared to Harvey who ascribes primary responsibility for some of the negative aspects of social development to the logic of capitalism, Castells moves the argument a bit further. He namely seems to be suggesting that the logic of networks in the informational society is even above because more powerful than the logic of the political level of capitalism as examined in Harvey’s analysis.
31 The quotation is taken from Gareth Evan’s poem “Hold Everything Dear” at the beginning of Berger’s collection of essays Hold Everything Dear (np).