Literary urbanism, visuality and modernity

Tepe, John Bright (2010). Literary urbanism, visuality and modernity. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Literary Urbanism and the Symbolist Aesthetic argues that the modern city influences urban writers to develop particular literary-visual practices that translate urban experience into poetry and prose. Chapter one considers how urban planning in Paris during the Second Empire inspired Charles Baudelaire‘s theories of modernity and aesthetic history. Chapter two discusses how A.C. Swinburne translates Baudelairean modernity into an English literary perspective through Sapphic poetry, and the importance Swinburne‘s association with painters has in this process. Swinburne‘s friendship with James McNeill Whistler, for example, results in the ekphrastic poem "Hermaphroditus", which uses sculpture to comment upon the modern city‘s potential to heighten perceptual consciousness. Chapter three studies the application of ekphrasis in urban writing, especially the way in which Arthur Symons‘ poetry uses symbols to render an immediate awareness of the city. Symons‘ reception of French Symbolist poetics opens chapter four, and introduces T.E. Hulme and Henri Bergson as theorists who develop a means of thinking the city through internal consciousness, not geographic space. This initiates chapter five‘s interest in how Pound and Eliot use metaphors of illumination to articulate how perceptions of the city arrive through transposition and refraction.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature


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