The Work in the World was first published in 1996. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The writing or reading or buying or selling or judging of a written work is always at the same time the act of making a place-or making places. The author creates a special sort of place for his ideas; the reader, for her engagement with the author; the bookseller, for the notion of books as property to be categorized and sold; and so on. In this book, Michael R. Curry develops a geography of this process, a theory of the nature of space and places in written work.
The Work in the World focuses on a paradox at the heart of this project: Although the written work is inextricably bound up in the construction of the places in which it is written, read, published, circulated, and cited, it nonetheless denies the importance of places. As the product of modern modes of knowledge, technology, and intellectual property, written work seems to say instead that only the encompassing universal space of ideas, objects, and commodities matters.
Distinctive for the way it views theories in geography and science as fundamentally embedded in written works, The Work in the World argues eloquently that the philosophical questions raised by theories can only be addressed within the broader context of the work.
Michael R. Curry is associate professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles.