ABSTRACT

The chapter aids exploration of urban prose in both fictional and nonfictional genres. For Merleau-Ponty, ‘prose’ seems to equate with a notion of literature as writing that brings about a special relationship between speaker and listener. Focalisation leads to descriptive passages, which are key in establishing the city of a novel, but which have varying roles in other sorts of city prose. Along with temporality, LUS practitioners can consider each novel as developing a particular view of the city, a complex focalisation of it through characters, narration and description. The particular view of the city given by Hugo includes high-level perspective, while the story told in the novel is often grotesque, describing humans at their basest. Houston itself and its proxies in journalism and planning documents largely speak of the city in a competitive way, ranged alongside US industrial and regional centres.