chapter  15
Heterotopias
The possible and real in Foucault, Beckett, and Calvino
ByAmanda Dennis
Pages 11

Heterotopia troubles the opposition between internal and external, individual and social, just as it troubles other oppositions that contour our epistemological order. Efforts to align the space of literature with heterotopia reveal the extent to which the "internal" space of our imaginations and perceptions is permeated by social space. This chapter suggests how such a phenomenon might work in Italo Calvino's fable about human desire, "The Distance of the Moon". It discusses Michel Foucault's remarks about heterotopia, looking closely at its complicated relationship to real space. The chapter turns to Samuel Beckett's Endgame and Italo Calvino's "The Distance of the Moon" to consider how works of literature may constitute "other spaces", proliferating alternatives to the status quo. The space of literature, read as heterotopia, would refract the real, exposing the order that contours our living spaces; the existence of such hybrid spaces reveals that what is could be otherwise.