The literature of walking and psychogeography is vast. Here are just a few examples of literary works in spired by the ideas of psychogeography.
- Guy Debord: Writings from the Situationist International. Go back to where it all started. Guy Debord, creator of the term ‘psychogeography’ explains the Situationist project, including ‘Theory of the derive’.
- Walter Benjamin: A Berlin Chronicle. One of the great theorists of walking, in this memoir Walter Benjamin recounts his earliest memories of his childhood in Berlin.
- Rebecca Solnit: A Field Guide to Getting Lost – history, philosophy, and memoir are combined in this wonderful work in which Californian writer Rebecca Solnit extols the benefits of getting lost, literally and metaphorically, explaining “that thing which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost”.
- Rebecca Solnit: Wanderlust – In this ‘history of walking’, Solnit provides a comprehensive portrait of the literary figures who have been inspired by walking, whether rural or urban, taking in everyone from Charles Dickens and Baudelaire to Marina Abramovich.
- Virginia Woolf: ‘Street Haunting: A London Adventure’ – In this beautiful essay Virginia Woolf discusses the sights and sounds that she encounters on an evening walk through the London streets, on the pretext of shopping for a pencil.
- Vanessa Berry: Mirror Sydney – Based on Vanessa Berry’s blog of the same name, this is a quirky and personal investigation of the oddities of Sydney and its suburbs.
- W.G. Sebald: The Rings of Saturn – Sebald’s walk around East Anglia is the starting point for a series of extraordinary digressions that lead him through the haunted landscapes of the past in the company of obsessives, eccentrics, murderers, radicals and poets.
- David Sornig: Blue Lake – An investigation combining social history and psychogeography of the area known as Dudley Flats, a zone in the west of Melbourne which has at various times housed boneyards, shanty towns and rubbish tips. Sornig’s story encompasses three remarkable characters who inhabited the Flats: an Afro-Caribbean singer, Elsie Williams, a German hermit, Lauder Rogge, and the scavenger king, Jack Peacock.
- Nick Gadd’s Melbourne Circle project – the story of a two-year walk around the Melbourne suburbs. Nick describes the development of his interest in walking in this article, ‘A Landscape of Stories’ published in Griffith Review.
Other writers whose work is worth investigating include Robert Macfarlane, Iain Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd and Nick Papadimitriou.