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Urban Perspectives: dialogues between cultural geography and urban literature

BROWN, Mark (2013) Urban Perspectives: dialogues between cultural geography and urban literature. Critical Engagements, 7 (1). pp. 123-144. ISSN 1754-0984

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Abstract or description

This paper explores two perspectives from which to ‘read’ the urban ‘text’ and seeks to establish a new analytical position able to combine key aspects of the conventional perspectives. Throughout, the discussion considers the implications of these ‘locations’ for the interpretation of urban literature. Because the ‘local’ perspective adopts the analytical position taken up by the figure of the flâneur it emphasises individual or subjective experience and makes the city compelling, tactile and partial. In contrast, the ‘systemic’ perspective views the city from a distant analytical position, emphasising external classifications and rational cartographies. The ‘composite’ perspective seeks to accommodate these seemingly irreconcilable urban perspectives into a unified analytical position through the incorporation of myths and stories of urban living into the discursive practices of geography. My argument explores the work of key urban theorists (including Benjamin, Lefebvre and Jameson) in some detail, before returning to the question of accommodating conflicting locations into a unified position. Having held in view the relationship between the text of the metropolis and urban fiction, I return to the implications of the different perspectives when they are adopted by writers, incorporated into literature as urban representations, or employed by literary critics.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q300 English studies
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies > Journalism, Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mark BROWN
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 17:18
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2013 16:36
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1586

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