At Home in the City: Urban Domesticity in American Literature and Culture, 1850-1930 / Edition 1by Betsy Klimasmith
Pub. Date: 11/04/2005
Publisher: University of New Hampshire Press
In the middle of the nineteenth century, urban families began to inhabit apartment houses, boarding houses, tenements, and hotels. These multi-unit residences began to define American city landscapes, a shift that had enormous interpersonal and cultural repercussions. These new forms of housing altered the ways in which Americans inhabited and understood urban space.… See more details below
In the middle of the nineteenth century, urban families began to inhabit apartment houses, boarding houses, tenements, and hotels. These multi-unit residences began to define American city landscapes, a shift that had enormous interpersonal and cultural repercussions. These new forms of housing altered the ways in which Americans inhabited and understood urban space. Helping to create among city dwellers a distinctively modern subjectivity were a host of writers (among them, Hawthorne, James, and Nella Larsen) who experimented in prose with the possibilities and dangers of urban space. Reformers, planners, and engineers simultaneously helped to shape urban sensibilities by experimenting with architectural form in the city’s physical landscape, often hoping to shape a particular type of citizen with their designs.
Imaginatively juxtaposing literary criticism with a history of the built environment, Klimasmith examines urban domestic fiction alongside architectural, sociological, and photographic texts of the period, pairing important American novels with developments in urban domestic architecture. Arguing that nineteenth and early-twentieth-century residential spaces were always more fluid and dynamic than traditional scholarship holds, her study allows us to witness the unfolding of modernity and to view the modernist subject at its very inception.
Table of ContentsList of Illustrations
Architectural Determinism and the Industrial City in The Blithedale Romance and Ruth Hall
The City’s Drawing-Room: Spatial Practice in The Bostonians and Central Park
The Tenement Home: Pushing the City’s Limits
The Apartment as Utopia: Reimagining the City, Reconstructing the Home
From Artifact to Investment: Hotel Homes, the Economics of Luxury, and The Custom of the Country
The Paradox of Intimacy: Mobility, Sociology, and the Function of Home in Quicksand
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