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Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London, 1800-1945 (Paperback)
  • Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London, 1800-1945 (Paperback)
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Subterranean Cities: The World beneath Paris and London, 1800-1945 (Paperback)

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£22.99
Paperback 374 Pages / Published: 11/10/2005
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The underground has been a dominant image of modern life since the late eighteenth century. A site of crisis, fascination, and hidden truth, the underground is a space at once more immediate and more threatening than the ordinary world above. In Subterranean Cities, David L. Pike explores the representation of underground space in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period during which technology and heavy industry transformed urban life.The metropolis had long been considered a moral underworld of iniquity and dissolution. As the complex drainage systems, underground railways, utility tunnels, and storage vaults of the modern cityscape superseded the countryside of caverns and mines as the principal location of actual subterranean spaces, ancient and modern converged in a mythic space that was nevertheless rooted in the everyday life of the contemporary city. Writers and artists from Felix Nadar and Charles Baudelaire to Charles Dickens and Alice Meynell, Gustave Dore and Victor Hugo, George Gissing and Emile Zola, and Jules Verne and H. G. Wells integrated images of the urban underworld into their portrayals of the anatomy of modern society. Illustrated with photographs, movie stills, prints, engravings, paintings, cartoons, maps, and drawings of actual and imagined urban spaces, Subterranean Cities documents the emergence of a novel space in the subterranean obsessions and anxieties within nineteenth-century urban culture. Chapters on the subways, sewers, and cemeteries of Paris and London provide a detailed analysis of these competing centers of urban modernity. A concluding chapter considers the enduring influence of these spaces on urban culture at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801472565
Number of pages: 374
Weight: 624 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"A triumph. The book is encyclopaedic in scope, never less than an absolute pleasure to read, and boasts a generous selection from the rich field of images related to the topic. The book will prove invaluable to anyone with an interest in the manifold topics it brings together, and is surely set to become a landmark in the history of urban modernity."

-- David Ashford * Modernism/modernity *

"David Pike writes with great fluency. His knowledge of theorists-LeFebvre, Soja, Mary Douglas-relevant to a comparison of underground, subway, sewage and burial systems in London and Paris is wide-ranging. He is adept at juxtaposing new industrial districts on which these 'sinks of consumption' were so heavily dependent."

-- Bill Luckin * Urban History *

"From the 19th through the mid-20th century, the underground railways, catacombs, and sewers of these two cities have ignited the imaginations of such literary luminaries as Dickens, Wells, Baudelaire, Forster, and many lesser-known artists and writers. According to Pike, an examination of the literature and art relating to the netherworld of these aging but dynamic cities provides insight into the darker recesses of human nature and capitalist society. Copiously illustrated with photographs, art works, movie stills, maps, and other illustrations of real and imagined underground spaces, this is an original work of scholarship."

* LIBRARY JOURNAL *

"In a beautifully written, deeply informed, critically engaging, and theoretically astute book, David L. Pike focuses attention on a highly original area of inquiry-the metropolitan underworld. Pike provides excellent insights into the cultural energies and material flows of the sewers, tunnels, and drains of London and Paris. Throughout, Pike draws on a vast bank of historical and literary sources in a truly dazzling manner."

-- Joseph Bristow, University of California, Los Angeles

"Subterranean Cities is a considerable work of urban archaeology, textual burrowing, and headlong epiphany. David L. Pike, scholar-sleuth, guides us through the reforgotten but ever-present labyrinths (of pain and memory) that lurk beneath those contrary capitals, London and Paris. Cities of metaphor are mapped from clues found in lost libraries, on excursions to catacombs, movie houses, sepulchres, and sewers. The cumulative effect of this glorious raft ride is white-knuckle exhilaration: night becomes day, that which was previously hidden is brilliantly visible."

-- Iain Sinclair, author of London Orbital: A Walk Around the M25

"What lies beneath us has fascinated humans for millennia. But as Pike observes in his new book, Subterranean Cities, it was 19th-century engineering-underground railways, drainage systems, burial groundsThat transformed the urban landscape into a physical and metaphorical definition of subterranean space."

-- Jennifer Howard * Chronicle of Higher Education *

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