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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2021
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The city's 'Americanness' has been disputed throughout US history. Pronounced dead in the late twentieth century, cities have enjoyed a renaissance in the twenty-first. Engaging the history of urban promise and struggle as represented in literature, film, and visual arts, and drawing on work in the social sciences, The City in American Literature and Culture examines the large and local forces that shape urban space and city life and the street-level activity that remakes culture and identities as it contests injustice and separation. The first two sections examine a range of city spaces and lives; the final section brings the city into conversation with Marxist geography, critical race studies, trauma theory, slow/systemic violence, security theory, posthumanism, and critical regionalism, with a coda on city literature and democracy.


‘Most of the essayists have some training and/or professional experience in literary study, but they write with a breadth of view and depth of insight that is notable; for instance, they repeatedly address the role of urban and regional planning. McNamara … can be praised for the cast of contributors he assembled, ranging from such well-established figures as John Carlos Rowe and William Boelhower to young scholars such as Kathy Knapp, Carlo Rotella, and Douglas Reichert Powell. ’

W. Franklin Source: Choice Connect

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