ABSTRACT

Concepts current in the early twentieth century guided urban literature for many decades. These concepts include multiplications of population and a large-scale poly-systemic mechanisation. LUS work on the era of literary modernism is aided by the broadened concept of modernism developed by scholars after 2000, and a parallel sort of broadening could be applied in LUS of other forms and periods. Senses of speed, alienation, fragmentation and the outsider figure are prominent in the writing read here and the places it enters into, with considerable overlap between this chapter and Chapter 4, on realism and its relatives. Examples focus on New York City including both readings of neighbourhoods within it and a sense of its literature as a field compared with that of all cities’ literature. Narrative openings provide a way in. The case study section formulates a series of heuristic statements about (broadened) modernist literature and cities, using them to read a short story by Thomas Mann and a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks.