The 'city view' forms the jumping off point for this innovative study, which explores how the concept of the city relates to the idea of the self in early modern French narratives. At a time when print culture, cartography and literature emerged and developed together, the 'city view', a picture or topographic image of a city, became one of the most distinctive and popular products of the early modern period. Through a construct she calls 'urban poetics', Elisabeth Hodges draws out the relationship between the city and the self, showing the impact of the city in cultural production to be so profound that it cannot be extricated from what we know by the name of 'subjectivity'. Each chapter of the book brings focus to a crucial text that features descriptions of the self in the city (by the writers Villon, Corrozet, Scève, and Montaigne) and investigate how representations of urban experience prepared the way for the emergence of the autonomous subject. Charting a course between cartography, literary studies, and cultural history, this study opens new vistas on some of the period's defining problems: the book, the subject, the city.
’… this volume contains much that is potentially of value to those interested in the relationship between subjectivity and urban space in the Renaissance period and beyond.’ French Studies ’Hodges' book is a welcome contribution to our knowledge of urban landscapes. It deftly deploys a wide range of methodological approaches to tap the deeper meaning of cartographic, geographic, and sociological significance of her subject. … Hodges produced a well-digested study that makes a solid contribution to our knowledge of the Renaissance.’ H-France Reviews '… the author presents a new and dynamic theme for examining late medieval and Renaissance literary texts.' Sixteenth Century Journal '… meticulous scholarship, detailed close textual reading and copious footnotes attest to Hodges's mastery of her subject, and the application of the study of cartography to the texts discussed offers some fascinating insights, which will surely inspire further discussion.' Renaissance Studies
Contents: Introduction: the poetics of urban space; Envisioning the city; Corrozet and the sense of place; Scève's urban poetics; Montaigne's topophilia; Epilogue: the topology of the subject; Bibliography; Index.