Reflecting on the City Through Literature

by Daan Wesselman

This book develops and demonstrates an interdisciplinary method that reads literary works as a way of thinking about the city. Literary works do not only provide reflections of the city – depictions of the city as an aesthetically compelling setting – but the literary reflection of the city also offers a critical reflection on the city.

How can spatial difference be conceived in cities that are changing beyond the form of the classical modern metropolis of the early 20th century? How can one think of the relation between individual urban subjects and their urban environment, when neither spaces nor discourses of the city provide them with an answer to the question where they might “belong”? How does the human body interact with its urban surroundings, and how should technological mediations be thought of? This book approaches these questions through analysing literary texts, focusing on concepts like heterotopia, non-place and the posthuman.

This book will be of interest to interdisciplinary scholars and students of the city, particularly in the fields of Urban Studies, Literary Studies, Geography, and Architecture.

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