This sweeping literary brush with the Western thought of the metropolis moves from the early novel in England to the revelatory cityscapes of Thomas Pynchon. Along the manner. Richard Lehan gathers a rich cortege that includes Daniel Defoe. Charles Dickens. Emile Zola. Bram Stoker. Rider Haggard. Joseph Conrad. James Joyce. Theodore Dreiser. F. Scott Fitzgerald. and Raymond Chandler.
The European metropolis is read against the diminution of feudal system and the rise of imperium and dictatorship ; the American metropolis against the phenomenon of the wilderness. the frontier. and the rise of the megalopolis and the decentered. discontinuous metropolis that followed.
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Throughout this book. Lehan pursues a dialectic of order and upset. of metropoliss seeking to enforce their presence on the environing pandemonium. Rooted in Enlightenment longings for ground. his journey goes from E to west. from Europe to America. In the United States. the motion is besides westbound and terminates in Los Angeles. a sort of land’s terminal of the imaginativeness. in Lehan’s words. He charts a narrative continuum full of concepts that “represent” a rhythm of hope and desperation. of historical optimism and pessimism.
Lehan nowadayss aggressively engraved portraitures of the correlativity between rationalism and capitalist economy ; of the rise of the metropolis. the diminution of the landed estate. and the formation of the Gothic ; and of the outgrowth of the metropolis and the visual aspect of other genres such as detective narrative and fantasy literature. He besides mines subjects such as urban surveies. architecture. economic sciences. and doctrine. bring outing stuff that makes his survey a lively read non merely for those interested in literature. but for anyone intrigued by the significances and enigmas of urban life.