The Materiality of Literary Narratives in Urban History explores a variety of geographical and cultural contexts to examine what literary texts, grasped as material objects and reflections on urban materialities, have to offer for urban history.

The contributing writers’ approach to literary narratives and materialities in urban history is summarised within the conceptualisation ‘materiality in/of literature’: the way in which literary narratives at once refer to the material world and actively partake in the material construction of the world. This book takes a geographically multipolar and multidisciplinary approach to discuss cities in the UK, the US, India, South Africa, Finland, and France whilst examining a wide range of textual genres from the novel to cartoons, advertising copy, architecture and urban planning, and archaeological writing. In the process, attention is drawn to narrative complexities embedded within literary fiction and to the dialogue between narratives and historical change.

The Materiality of Literary Narratives in Urban History has three areas of focus: literary fiction as form of urban materiality, literary narratives as social investigations of the material city, and the narrating of silenced material lives as witnessed in various narrative sources.

chapter 1|16 pages

Urban History and the Materialities of/in Literature

ByLieven Ameel, Jason Finch, Silja Laine, Richard Dennis

part I|96 pages

Literary Fiction as Urban Materiality

chapter 2|22 pages

Between the Street and the Drawing Room

Slumming in Eliot’s Early Poetry
ByBo Pettersson

chapter 3|19 pages

Recycling Fictions in the City

Don DeLillo and the Materiality of Waste
ByMarkku Salmela

chapter 6|20 pages

‘Quite an aristocratic place, although in Whitechapel’

Hospital Topographies and Margaret Harkness’s Writing of London
ByJason Finch

part II|88 pages

Literary Narratives as Social Investigations of the Material City

chapter 7|27 pages

‘The Casey Court House Builders’

1930s Children’s Comics and the Material Transformation of East London
ByLucie Glasheen

chapter 8|18 pages

‘On the Square’

Constructing the Dangers of Depression-Era London in Ada Chesterton’s Social Investigations
ByFlore Janssen

chapter 9|19 pages

‘Would you Adam-and-Eve-it?’

Geography, Materiality, and Authenticity in Novels of Victorian and Edwardian London
ByRichard Dennis

chapter 10|23 pages

The Literary Adventure of the Skyscraper in France (1893–1930)

Literary Narratives and Urban Architecture between Fiction and Reality
ByJulie Gimbal

part III|60 pages

Narrating Silenced Material Lives

chapter 11|21 pages

The Unconfessed Architectures of Cape Town

ByHuda Tayob

chapter 12|21 pages

City Tales in Dialogue

Vijayanagara through Travelogues and Archaeology
ByElke Rogersdotter

chapter 13|18 pages

‘. . . will never become quiet’

The Materiality of Narrative and Memory in Trickster City
ByAnubhav Pradhan