Representing London: Writing the Eighteenth Century City
Queen Mary, University of London
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
London in the eighteenth century was the first recognisably `modern¿ city, the metropolitan centre of a global trading empire, the `Emporium of the World¿. There had never been a city like it. For this reason, poets, artists, novelists, playwrights, travel writers, satirists, and essayists were drawn persistently to London as a fascinating and complex subject for literary representation. There were few established precedents for how cities might be imagined through text. Solving the problem of how to represent the diverse, enigmatic, ever-changing city of London is one of the core literary questions that we ask on this module. But the city also sponsored its own local textual forms. Some of these were rooted in folk traditions reaching to time immemorial: ballad-singing, the pop-up theatres of the city¿s fairs. Others emerged in response to the demands of the new city: criminal biography, spy literature, the newspaper press, the satirical essay, the novel itself. Representing London gives you the opportunity to think about the way in which the diverse urban experience of the metropolitan populace finds expression in literature. Assessment tasks include an opportunity to write creatively about the city. Weekly teaching sessions combine close analysis of set texts with the study of visual material, the theoretical interrogation of the idea of the city, and field-trips to important urban sites.
Assessment: 100.0% Coursework
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