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Unreal city: reflections on London and the novel in the twentieth century

White, Jerry (2003) Unreal city: reflections on London and the novel in the twentieth century. History Workshop Journal 56 (1), pp. 1-32. ISSN 1363-3554.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hwj/56.1.1

Abstract

The immensity and complexity of London have rendered it literally ‘unknowable’. Teasing out what impact the city has had on the lives of its citizens, and how its people have shaped and moulded the city they live in, has proved resistant alike to the geographer's science and the historian's art. But it is perhaps in London's fictions that city and people come most alive. Here the forces generated by this giant aggregation of people, in a place with long traditions yet nervously alive to every tic of fashion, can be worked through in characters drawn from the novelist's experience and imagination. The London novel in the twentieth century exceeded in scope, diversity and courage (if not in grandeur and genius) the great tradition established from the 1830s on. This rich seam, both deep and wide, is celebrated here through fictions that explore the excitement and strain of arriving in London; the boozy promises of London's pubs and London's prostitutes; and that point where history confronts the Londoner and shapes her destiny. It is in these texts that we feel what it means to be a Londoner. Description from the publisher's website: http://hwj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/56/1/1

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The author was Visiting Professor at the School of History and Politics, Middlesex University, London when this article was published.
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Ms Karyn Gowlett
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2009 13:28
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:16
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/798

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