Peasant Life is a life committed completely to survival. Perhaps this is the only characteristic fully shared by peasants erverywhere.

Countryside Crisis – why a new ‘Rural Writing’ is urgently needed

Rural areas are concreted, cleared, monocultivated or forests spread out (again). Energy landscapes emerge and old small-scaled cultural landscapes disappear. Variations are levelled, architectural and landscape uniformity reign wherever you look. Facts and figures alone cannot convey the drastic demographic and environmental changes that the countryside is undergoing. Fiction in particular could provide gripping stories about rural and village worlds in transition. Fiction could allow detailed insights to support a better understanding of what is going on in these far too often marginalized areas. But many recent novels fail to do so. Who can tell ‘stories’ about these massive upheavals that make you think, or even better, rethink? Sharpen our perceptions? Do these stories already exist or are we still waiting for them? In this essayistic plea, at the intersection of geography and literary studies, we explain why our society urgently needs a new rural writing: narratives dedicated to countryside areas and their irrevocable transformation.


Extended Version

Barbara Piatti, Thomas Streifeneder: „Rural Criticism. Oder: Welche Erzählungen über das Drama des ländlichen Raums brauchen wir dringend? Ein Plädoyer“. In: Gutes Leben auf dem Land? Imaginationen und Projektionen vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Hrsg. von Werner Nell und Marc Weiland. Bielefeld: Transcript 2021, 199-238.

Other Publications

Thomas Streifeneder, Barbara Piatti „Vegane Prosa: Was engagierte Erzählungen über die Fleischindustrie bewirken können“, 2021, Eurac Blogs,

Thomas Streifeneder, Barbara Piatti: „Matthew Picton’s Urban Narratives. Or how a three-dimensional paper map can beam you into the London bombing nights of 1940“, in: International Journal of Cartography, 2021, 7:2, 233-239.

Thomas Streifeneder, Barbara Piatti: „Geographien der Einsamkeit. Die seelische Kartierung bäuerlicher Welten in der Gegenwartsliteratur. In: Die Zukunft auf dem Land Imagination, Projektion, Planung, Gestaltung. Hrsg. von Sigrun Langner, Marc Weiland. Bielefeld: Transcript 2022, 291-318.