“I Am” a “Space Oddity”: Echolocating (New) Romanticism in David Bowie

This essay seeks to demonstrate how David Bowie’s (New) Romantic project engaged with spatial understandings that were first embedded in poetic practices in early-nineteenth-century Britain. Building on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s—fundamentally spatial—concept of the “I AM,” this essay suggests that spatial readings of Bowie’s “Major Tom” series can help us to echolocate innovative forms of (New) Romantic identities. More than this, it argues that reading Bowie’s tracks in light of Romantic concepts might assist in our ongoing project to engage with and respond to earlier works in ways that productively bring modern technological and spatial experiences to bear on historical literatures.