Urban Realism and the Cosmopolitan Imagination in the Nineteenth Century

Urban Realism and the Cosmopolitan Imagination in the Nineteenth Century : Visible City, Invisible World

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This book tells a story about the transformation of mid-Victorian urban writing in response both to London's growing size and diversity, and Britain's shifting global fortunes. Tanya Agathocleous departs from customary understandings of realism, modernism, and the transition between them, to show how a range of writers throughout the nineteenth century - including William Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, William Morris, Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Joseph Conrad - explored the ethical, social and political implications of globalization. Showcasing a variety of different genres, Agathocleous uses the lens of cosmopolitan realism - the literary techniques used to transform the city into an image of the world - to explain how texts that seem glaringly dissimilar actually emerged from the same historical concept, and in doing so presents startlingly new ways of thinking about the meaning and effect of cosmopolitanism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 294 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16mm | 390g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1107663695
  • 9781107663695
  • 1,671,568

Table of contents

Introduction: cosmopolitan realism; Part I. The Emergence of Cosmopolitan Realism: 1. The palace and the periodical: the Great Exhibition, Cosmopolis, and the discourse of cosmopolitanism; 2. The sketch and the panorama: Wordsworth, Dickens, and the emergence of cosmopolitan realism; Part II. Cosmopolitan Realism at the Fin de Siecle and Beyond: 3. Realist details and romance plots: James, Doyle, and the aesthetics of fin-de-siecle cosmopolitanism; 4. Ethnography and allegory: socialist internationalism and realist Utopia in News from Nowhere and In Darkest England; 5. The moment and the end of time: Conrad, Woolf and the temporal sublime; Conclusion: 'a city visible but unseen': cosmopolitan realism and the invisible metropolis.
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Review quote

"Tanya Agathocleous provocatively investigates the mid-Victorian roots of our conflicted responses to urbanization and globalization....Effectively tracing the "long literary history of London-as-cosmopolis" from the 1850s through the 1920s, this book demonstrates its author's strengths as an archivist and her engagement with the growing body of scholarship on this topic."
-Joseph McLaughlin, Assc Profc of English at Ohio University, Editor for the Ohio University Press series in Victorian Studies, and the author of Writing the Urban Jungle: Reading Empire in London from Doyle to Eliot (2000). "One of this particular study's merits, along with its generous selection of excellent illustrations, is that it maps out the considerable critical literature on Cosmopolitanism. Its author, Tanya Agathocleous, is a well-qualified guide to the territory..." -Dickens Quarterly "Agathocleous situates her study among the growing body of work that seeks to "transcend a focus on the nation and nationalism"(2). She does so by focusing on the evolution of a distinctive form of cosmopolitanism that emerged in writing about London from the 1850's onward." -- Victorian Studies
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About Tanya Agathocleous

Tanya Agathocleous is Assistant Professor of English at Hunter College, City University of New York.
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