But what, after all, is 'the regional'? A region can be as largeas the European peninsula. Within the political enterprisethat is the European Union, however, regions subdivide acontinent already sliced up into nation-states - and eventhen what counts as a region is far from certain. Accordingto the latest Map of European Regions, a region might be anabstract geographical area like 'Mid East Ireland'; a subnationalcultural and political unit like Bavaria; or a nationalbut substate territory like Scotland or Wales. Englandappears to present a different problem altogether: theAssembly of European Regions divides it into someeighty-seven portions, including counties, parts of counties,and metropolitan authorities. Things are hardlymore clear at the level of literary history, where 'region'is used to describe something as diverse as multilingualand multi-national literatures of the Caribbean archipelagoand as specific as 1960s 'Liverpool Scene' poetry. If we arefully to grasp the implications of regionalism as a thematicand generic trend in English fiction of the interwar years,then we must first be clear about the protean nature of thisthing called a region.
Published: December 2012