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Babylon or New Jerusalem?

Perceptions of the City in Literature

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image of Babylon or New Jerusalem?

Today more than ever literature and the other arts make use of urban structures – it is in the city that the global and universal joins the local and individual. <I>Babylon or New Jerusalem? Perceptions of the City in Literature </I>draws a map of the concept of the city in literature and represents the major issues involved. Contributions to the volume revisit cities such as the London of Wordsworth, Dorothy Richardson and Virginia Woolf or Rilke’s Paris, but also travel to the politics of power in Renaissance theatre at Ferrara and to deliberate urban erasures in post-apartheid South Africa. The texts represented range from Renaissance plays to contemporary novels and to poetry from various periods, with references to the visual arts, including film. The role of memory in contemplating the city and also specific urban metaphors developed in literature, such as boxing – the square ring – and jazz are also discussed. The transformation of cities by legislation on cemeteries, by lighting or by projects of urban renewal are the subject of articles, while others reflect on images of the city in worlds specifically forged by writers like William Blake and James Thomson. The contributors themselves live and work in many varied cities, thus representing a dynamic and real variety of critical approaches, and introducing a strong theoretical and comparative element.

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