Beyond the Window: Scenic Views and the Order of Nature-Cultures in Vancouver

By Nina Varsava.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Here I discuss scenic views in Vancouver, in particular those produced by view windows. I examine the division of “nature” and “culture,” and suggest that the “view obsession” in Vancouver contributes to the reification of this hierarchical binary. Through analyses of two contemporary works of Vancouver literature—Mrs. Golightly and Other Stories (1961), a collection of short stories by Ethel Wilson; and City of Glass (2009), a collection of essays by Douglas Coupland—I look at the ways in which view windows structure West Coast urban society, as well as the ways in which such structures might be subverted or interrupted—and to what end(s).

Keywords: Vancouver, Ecology, Nature-Cultures, Architecture, Windows, Framing, Scenic Views, Literature

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.63-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 626.779KB).

Nina Varsava

Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant, Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada

Nina Varsava grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and has since lived in several cities in both North America and Europe. She currently resides in Vancouver, where she is a graduate student in English literature at the University of British Columbia. Her academic interests revolve around contemporary North American literature and ethics, in particular bio- and eco-ethics, and the ethics of mediation and representation. She is currently engaged with the interdisciplinary intersections of literature, philosophy, and animal studies. Her research has appeared in scholarly journals in the US and Europe, and her creative writing and journalism have appeared in various Canadian publications.