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The City: Myth and Materiality

May 29, 2018
Centre for Metropolitan History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London

Wolfson Conference Suite
Senate House, Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
United Kingdom

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A symposium exploring the intersection of literary studies and urban history, that works to reshape our understanding of the relationship between myth and materiality. Co-organized by the IHR and the Association for Literary Urban Studies, with support from the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies.

Cities have always been driven by the dynamics between myths and materialities, oscillations between founding myths (from Rome to St Petersburg), to the material conditions of city sites (hills and swamps; river, estuary and seashore), and patterns of technological innovation, consumption, and distribution. City zones where myth and materiality meet include those to which ideas of the sacred and the profane are central, from cathedral precincts to slums and red-light districts. Unpacking the dynamics of urban materialities and their mediation in literary and other texts goes through a range of approaches, including the examination of urban experience, technology, or the topographic layout of streets in literary texts. Its aspects range from the physical production of books and the fetishization of art and other objects in city contexts, to studies of literary texts and historical moments from the perspective of book production, reading cultures, and consumption patterns.

How do city myths and city materialities interact? And in what different ways do perspectives from literary studies, urban history, and other disciplines including human and cultural geography, design history and urban planning, cast light on these intersections?

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May 25, 2018, 9:00am BST

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