Re-Presenting the Metropolis
Architecture, Urban Experience and Social Life in London 1800–1840
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The evolution of an urban self-consciousness in London in the early nineteenth century played a fundamental role in the shaping of the city. In this volume Dana Arnold explores the responses to the city among the urban bourgeoisie and their influence on the experience and development of London. Each of the chapters re-presents the metropolis through a thematic consideration of the urban infrastructure and architecture including public open spaces, new roads and bridges, public monuments, and buildings for show including museums, galleries and townhouses. These discrete ’walks’ around London cohere into a kaleidoscopic view of the metropolis as a continually evolving entity. The nature and perception of urban experience and social life are mapped against this changing image of London revealing at once the modernity of the metropolis and the importance of the past - especially antiquity - to the construction of this transient present. Evidence of attitudes towards the metropolis is drawn from a range of contemporary visual and written sources including commentaries, guidebooks, literature and parliamentary reports and enquiries. The study of sensory responses to the city allows the exploration of the dynamic between city and society and a broader cultural understanding of urban form. London is re-presented as a matrix of key architectural, social and cultural themes and as the emblematic expression of different kinds of identities relating to gender,class and nationhood.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The view from St Paul’s; The art of walking the streets; The nation of London; The theory of police; Free-born sons (and daughters) of commerce; To gaze, to admire, and to covet; Appendices, Bibliography, Index.
'Yet Re-presenting the Metropolis remains a major new contribution to the history of architecture and urban experience in London in the period 1800-40.'
- Art Book
'Re-Presenting the Metropolis...contains wonderful information about and insights into the building and rebuilding of London at the dawn of Britain's heyday as a world power.'
- 19th Century Contexts
'Throughout the book Arnold's use of contemporary texts provides a fascinating insight both into the responses of Londoners to their city and the textual frameworks which assisted them in navigating its streets and conceptualising its identity.'
- Oxford Art Journal
'The whole book is a satisfying investigation of aspects of social, economic and political history of the period 1800 to 1840 taken from the stance of an accomplished architectural historian.'
- Frank Crompton, University College Worcester, Urban History