1st Edition

Charting Literary Urban Studies Texts as Models of and for the City

By Jens Martin Gurr Copyright 2021
    220 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Guided by the multifaceted relations between city and text, Charting Literary Urban Studies: Texts as Models of and for the City attempts to chart the burgeoning field of literary urban studies by outlining how texts in varying degrees function as both representations of the city and as blueprints for its future development. The study addresses questions such as these: How do literary texts represent urban complexities – and how can they capture the uniqueness of a given city? How do literary texts simulate layers of urban memory – and how can they reinforce or help dissolve path dependencies in urban development? What role can literary studies play in interdisciplinary urban research? Are the blueprints or 'recipes' for urban development that most quickly travel around the globe – such as the 'creative city', the 'green city' or the 'smart city' – really always the ones that best solve a given problem? Or is the global spread of such travelling urban models not least a matter of their narrative packaging? In answering these key questions, this book also advances a literary studies contribution to the general theory of models, tracing a heuristic trajectory from the analysis of literary texts as representations of urban developments to an analysis of literary strategies in planning documents and other pragmatic, non-literary texts.




    1. Interdisciplinary Urban Complexity Research and Texts as Qualitative Models
    2. Literary Models of Urban Complexity and the Problem of Simultaneity: A Sketchy Inventory of Strategies
    3. Palimpsests, Rhizomes, Nodes: Texts as Structural and Functional Urban Models
    4. Reversing Perspectives: Urban Memory in Built and Literary Postindustrial Cities
    5. Urban Activist Writing and the Transition from "Models of" to "Models for" Urban Developments
    6. Narrative Path Dependencies: From Scenario Building in Literary Texts to the Narratology and Rhetoric of Pragmatic Texts
    7. ‘Scripts’ in Urban Development: Procedural Knowledge, Self-Description and Persuasive Blueprint for the Future (Barbara Buchenau and Jens Martin Gurr)
    8. From the ‘Garden City’ to the ‘Smart City’: Literary Urban Studies, Policy Mobility Research and Travelling Urban Models





    Jens Martin Gurr is Professor of British and Anglophone Literature and Culture at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has 12 years of research experience in the field of Literary Urban Studies with five edited collections and some 30 essays in this field alone. As Director of the interdisciplinary Joint Centre Urban Systems at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Speaker of the Competence Field Metropolitan Research in the University Alliance Ruhr, he has directed and co-directed numerous disciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects.

    "In Charting Literary Urban Studies: Texts as Models of and for the City, Jens Gurr offers a bracing new claim for what literature and literary studies can do. More practical and strategic than the familiar analysis of the "cultural work" that literature performs, his approach suggests that narrative, in literary texts but also in the texts created as part of urban planning and development, can provide models and scripts to help us think about what cities could be. In exploring this potential, Gurr advocates for the value of the humanities, not merely to reflect or uplift human experience but to shape it." --Sherry Lee Linkon, Georgetown University

    "Finally, there is a systematic overview of a field that has gained much importance in recent years. Charting Literary Urban Studies: Texts as Models of and for the City is a much-needed contribution to urban research – for students, instructors and practitioners alike." –Julia Sattler, TU Dortmund University