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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.
Excerpted from The City in Literature by Richard Lehan Excerpted by permission.
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|List of Illustrations|
|Preface and Acknowledgments|
|Pt. 1||Reading the City/Reading the Text|
|1||The City and the Text||3|
|Pt. 2||Enlightenment Legacy|
|2||From Myth to Mastery||13|
|3||The City and the Estate||26|
|4||City of Limits||51|
|5||The Inward Turn||71|
|Pt. 4||American Re-Presentations|
|10||The City and the Wilderness||167|
|11||The Urban Frontier||182|
|14||The Urban Vortex||224|
|Pt. 5||After the Waste Land|
|16||From Myth to Mystery||265|