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City Codes

City Codes
Reading the Modern Urban Novel


  • Date Published: April 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521060042

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About the Authors
  • City Codes is a study of the representation of the city in the modern novel that takes difference as its point of departure, so that cities are read according to the cultural and social position of the urbanite. These urban narratives are analysed in the context of a cultural repertoire of city codes, from the architectural features of window and street to the social and historical signs of the landmark and the passer-by, with the emphasis on the subject's construction of his or her place as shaped by history, politics, nationality, gender, class and race. The study moves from boundaries inscribed onto the cityscape to distances experienced by the city dwellers; its 'real' and textual cities are Warsaw, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Paris, London and Dublin. The novels discussed are by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Amos Oz, Theodore Dreiser, Ralph Ellison, Henry James, Henry Roth, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.

    • Challenges prevailing assumptions about modernism and urbanism
    • Analysis the mapping of cities from the point of view of a variety of 'outsiders' by race, class, gender, immigration, tourism, nationality, ideology
    • Foregrounds the study of setting in narrative, rather than character and plot
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'The book, rich in bibliography, is beautifully illustrated, free of obscure academic jargon, and is a pleasure to read.' Jewish Chronicle

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521060042
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction: Reading Cities:
    1. Cultural models of the city - whose city? 2. Narrative cartography, or the language of setting
    3. The modern urban novel: new blueprint for self and place
    4. The itinerary: Warsaw, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Paris, Dublin, and London
    Part II. Partitioned Cities: Spatial and Temporal Walls:
    5. Issac Bashevis Singer's The Family Moskat
    6. Amos Oz's My Michael
    Part III. Divided Cities: Social Walls
    7. Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie
    8. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
    Part IV. Translated Cities: Domesticating the Foreign:
    9. Henry James The Ambassadors
    10. Henry Roth's Call It Sleep
    Part V. Estranged Cities: Defamiliarizing Home:
    11. James Joyce's Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
    12. Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
    Epilogue: Metropolitan musings
    Works cited.

  • Author

    Hana Wirth-Nesher, Tel-Aviv University

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