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  • Panoramic Visions: Sven Hedin in “Transhimalaya” 1906–1909

    Staffan Bergwik

    Chapter from the book: Petersson, S et al. 2018. The Power of the In-Between: Intermediality as a Tool for Aesthetic Analysis and Critical Reflection.


    This chapter studies the panoramic visions created by Swedish geographer Sven Hedin on a journey to Tibet between 1906 and 1909. It reads Hedin’s geographic images and texts through a broader nineteenth-century history of the panorama and indicates how his panoramic visions were part of a broader media culture of the century. Furthermore, the chapter claims that Hedin’s geographic images and texts contributed to the shaping of a modern regime of vision where the world in overview was a desirable object. Using intermediality as a method, I display how these visions emerged through a network of media formats, including photographs, hand-drawn panoramas, water-colour sketches, and texts. The article argues that these formats were combined through “descriptive layering.” They shared the panorama as a motif, yet they were also layered in a material sense: attached to, and interlaced with, each other. I argue that descriptive layering was a way of handling the vexed relationship between overview and detail, and it allowed the panoramic representations to move between knowledge-based and aesthetic experiences.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Bergwik, S. 2018. Panoramic Visions: Sven Hedin in “Transhimalaya” 1906–1909. In: Petersson, S et al (eds.), The Power of the In-Between. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/baq.h

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Additional Information

    Published on Sept. 27, 2018


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