Invisible Architecture in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Rethinking Urban Modernity

By Ben Moore

Ben Moore presents a new approach to reading urban modernity in nineteenth-century literature, by bringing together hidden, mobile and transparent features of city space as part of a single system he calls ‘invisible architecture’. Resisting narratives of the nineteenth-century as progressing from concealment to transparency, he instead argues for a dynamic interaction between these tendencies. Across two parts, this book addresses a range of apparently disparate buildings and spaces. Part I offers new readings of three writers and their cities: Elizabeth Gaskell and Manchester, Charles Dickens and London, and Émile Zola and Paris, focusing on the cellar-dwelling, the railway and river, and the department store respectively. Part II takes a broader view by analysing three spatial forms that have not usually been considered features of nineteenth-century modernity: the Gothic cathedral, the arabesque and white walls. Through these readings, the book extends our understanding of the uneven modernity of this period.

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