Michel, Berit

Mapping the City - Narrating 'Complexity'

Urban Space in the Contemporary Anglophone Novel




The teeming metropolis and the way we experience overpowering urban environments has fascinated writers for centuries. Especially within the last decades, these environments have changed tremendously: They have become ‘smart,’ or ‘intelligent,’ as the infrastructures of cities become augmented with computational spaces. The narratives discussed in this study stage the ways in which we experience the complex urban environments of a digitalized world. The fictions cover different narrative modes ranging from classical print narratives (e.g. Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, Thompson’s Communion Town or Miéville’s The City and the City) to intermedial print narratives (Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Tree of Codes as well as Danielewski’s House of Leaves) and a semi-digital narrative (Klein’s Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986). How do these very different texts engage with a perspective informed by digital media? This study probes into how contemporary fiction negotiates changing ways of envisioning urban environments, the city dweller and also the practice of narrating the city itself. It will ultimately show how fiction can shape the way we think about today’s cities and about urban space generally.

Contents (PDF)



ISBN 978-3-86821-645-5, kt., 270 S., € 29,50 (2016)

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