Cities and Literature

By: Malcolm Miles

In November 2020, we are reading “Cities and Literature” by Malcolm Miles. Just as the days get shorter for many of us and we take refuge in novels, series and other kinds of literature, it is a good time to shift perspective. This book will teach you as urban planners how to analyse the depiction of the urban in literature.

In the next weeks, you will see the discussion questions and other input for this month’s discussion below. Feel free to use the comment section and also follow us on @urbanismbookclub on Instagram for updates!

Description:

This book offers a critical introduction to the relation between cities and literature (fiction, poetry and literary criticism) from the late eighteenth to twenty-first centuries. It examines examples of writing from Europe, North America and post-colonial countries, juxtaposed with key ideas from urban cultural and critical theories.

Cities and Literature shows how literature frames real and imagined constructs and experiences of cities. Arranged thematically each chapter offers a narrative which introduces a number of key thinkers and writers whose vision illuminates the prevailing idea of the city at the time. The themes are extended or challenged by boxed cases of specific texts or images accompanied by short critical commentaries; the structure provides readers with a map of the terrain enabling connections across time and place within manageable limits, and offers elements of critical discussion to serve a growing number of university courses which involve the intersections of cities and literature.

This volume offers access to literature from an urban perspective for the social sciences, and access to urbanism from a literary viewpoint. It is an excellent resource for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of urban studies and English literature, planning, cultural and human geographies, architecture, cultural studies and cultural policy.

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