Thinking Design Through Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Thinking Design Through Literature

ISBN 9781138712560
Published August 23, 2019 by Routledge
346 Pages 82 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

This book deploys literature to explore the social lives of objects and places. The first book of its kind, it embraces things as diverse as escalators, coins, skyscrapers, pottery, radios, and robots, and encompasses places as various as home, country, cities, streets, and parks. Here, fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction are mined for stories of design, which are paired with images of contemporary architecture and design. Through the work of authors such as César Aires, Nicholson Baker, Lydia Davis, Orhan Pamuk, and Virginia Woolf, this book shows the enormous influence that places and things exert in the world.

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Culture: Identity, Displacement, Exile; Chapter Two - Politics: Prosecution, Obfuscation, Possibility; Chapter Three - Beings: Unruly Things, Golems, Cyborgs; Chapter Four - Technology: Connections, Disruptions, Amplifications; Chapter Five - Domesticity: Cleaning, Mending, Caring; Chapter Six - Consuming: Shopping, Collecting, Hoarding; Chapter Seven - Sensing: Perceptions, Vibrations, Visions; Chapter Eight - Mortality: Death, Burial, Resurrection

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Susan Yelavich is Professor Emerita, Design Studies, Parsons School of Design, The New School. NYC.


"An unusual and thought-provoking way to approach design studies."

- Elizabeth Guffey, SUNY Purchase

"This is an important and useful addition to the bibliography on contemporary design criticism and thinking. The book presents imaginative ways of thinking about design and, indeed, practising it."

- Guy Julier, University of Brighton/Victoria and Albert Museum

"...The premise of Thinking Design Through Literature is valuable, creative and surprising. ... Literature, like any other form of cultural production such as, for instance, design, should be understood in historical context(s), including their time of writing and the fictional time they occupy. Yelavich shows that those seeking to understand design will benefit from reading literature."

--Journal of Design History