The City in Literature: An Intellectual and Cultural History / Edition 1

The City in Literature: An Intellectual and Cultural History / Edition 1

by Richard Lehan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520212568

ISBN-13: 9780520212565

Pub. Date: 04/01/1998

Publisher: University of California Press


This sweeping literary encounter with the Western idea of the city moves from the early novel in England to the apocalyptic cityscapes of Thomas Pynchon. Along the way, Richard Lehan gathers a rich entourage that includes Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, Emile Zola, Bram Stoker, Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and…  See more details below

Overview


This sweeping literary encounter with the Western idea of the city moves from the early novel in England to the apocalyptic cityscapes of Thomas Pynchon. Along the way, Richard Lehan gathers a rich entourage that includes Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens, Emile Zola, Bram Stoker, Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Raymond Chandler. The European city is read against the decline of feudalism and the rise of empire and totalitarianism; the American city against the phenomenon of the wilderness, the frontier, and the rise of the megalopolis and the decentered, discontinuous city that followed.

Throughout this book, Lehan pursues a dialectic of order and disorder, of cities seeking to impose their presence on the surrounding chaos. Rooted in Enlightenment yearnings for reason, his journey goes from east to west, from Europe to America. In the United States, the movement is also westward and terminates in Los Angeles, a kind of land's end of the imagination, in Lehan's words. He charts a narrative continuum full of constructs that "represent" a cycle of hope and despair, of historical optimism and pessimism.

Lehan presents sharply etched portrayals of the correlation between rationalism and capitalism; of the rise of the city, the decline of the landed estate, and the formation of the gothic; and of the emergence of the city and the appearance of other genres such as detective narrative and fantasy literature. He also mines disciplines such as urban studies, architecture, economics, and philosophy, uncovering material that makes his study a lively read not only for those interested in literature, but for anyone intrigued by the meanings and mysteries of urban life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520212565
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
04/01/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
307
Sales rank:
1,001,439
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Pt. 1Reading the City/Reading the Text
1The City and the Text3
Pt. 2Enlightenment Legacy
2From Myth to Mastery13
3The City and the Estate26
Pt. 3Modernism/Urbanism
4City of Limits51
5The Inward Turn71
6Urban Fantasies83
7Joycity104
8Urban Entropy123
9Beyond Liberalism145
Pt. 4American Re-Presentations
10The City and the Wilderness167
11The Urban Frontier182
12Urban Powers194
13Urban Destiny206
14The Urban Vortex224
15Quest West251
Pt. 5After the Waste Land
16From Myth to Mystery265
Epilogue285
Bibliography293
Index313

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