The Vanishing Map: A Journey from LA to Tokyo to the Heart of Europe

The Vanishing Map: A Journey from LA to Tokyo to the Heart of Europe


By (author) Stephen Barber

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  • Publisher: Berg Publishers
  • Format: Hardback | 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 188mm x 20mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 3 October 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1845205103
  • ISBN 13: 9781845205102
  • Illustrations note: 3 b&w illustrations, bibliography
  • Sales rank: 43,531

Product description

Stephen Barber takes the reader on an extraordinary journey from LA to Tokyo via Europe. He carries only a crumpled map in his pocket, a map that plots a horrifying past, a disappearing present and a future collapsing into banality. A virtual reality flight across this territory reveals the surfaces of things, a landscape made by war and technological advances. Coming back to earth and to his own body, Stephen Barber follows the map from city to city. He discovers how cities, once densely layered with a civilization's history of follies and obsessions, are increasingly oblivious places, accelerating the erasure of their own histories, forgetting themselves. Barber's journey becomes a profound meditation on the future of the city and the role of memory in our lives.Dazzlingly written, erudite and, by turns funny, elegiac and horrific, The Vanishing Map explores what cities were, are and will be. Deeper than this, it questions how memory - personal, urban, national and global memory - can survive.

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Author information

Stephen Barber is a noted cultural historian and author of many acclaimed books, including Burning World, the best-selling biography of Edmund White, Tokyo Vertigo, Caligula: Divine Carnage, Projected Cities, Jean Genet, Fragments of the European City and two studies of Antonin Artaud, The Screaming Body and Blows And Bombs. His writing has won many awards and been translated into Japanese, French, German and Italian. Formerly Professor of Digital Media at the University of Tokyo, he is currently Professor of Media Arts at Kingston University.

Review quote

'Stephen Barber is an extraordinary explorer into the history and memory of Europe, and here he takes the reader on an exhilarating journey.'Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story and The Flaneur: a journey through the paradoxes of Paris'The Vanishing Map is a weird and wonderful rumination on a bloody past, an oblivious present, and a future collapsing into banality.'3am MagazineFrom reviews of previous work'Is there a new candidate for most dangerous man in Europe? The cultural historian Stephen Barber puts himself in the frame.' The Independent'A writer who carries the city within him compelling, ambitious and genre-busting.' Literary Review of Canada'Exhilarating and disquieting.' The Sunday Times'Stephen Barber is a cultural historian of real distinction brilliant and often profound.' The Independent on Sunday'Brilliant, profound and provocative.' The Times 'Barber's fluid prose demonstrates intense research.' Publishers' Weekly

Table of contents

* Part One: Los Angeles: City of Angels, City of Devils * Part Two: The Heart of Europe * Part Three: Tokyo: City of Devils, City of Angels