ABSTRACT

The city is among the most complex products of humanity that has tangible form. Urban complexity may be irreducible but people for thousands of years have found their way through it. Cities of words presented in texts and cities of concrete, stone, brick, metal, plastic and wood arranged in streets continue to have an elusive relationship. Urban form and literary form, for all the difficulties we face in making, say, ideas of rational top-down city planning and naturalist or modernist literary texts narrating city experience, do indeed relate to one another. Classically, literary studies have conceived these as entertaining, instructional or beautiful, as critical of power and as complicit with it.