By Nicholas Freeman
Conceiving town is an leading edge learn of the ways that a iteration of late-Victorian novelists, poets, painters, and theoreticians tried to symbolize London in literature and paintings. Breaking clear of the language and elegance of Dickens and the static landscape work of William Powell Frith, significant figures akin to Henry James and J. M. Whistler, and, crucially, less-celebrated authors similar to Arthur Machen, Edwin Pugh, and George Egerton bent realism into fascinating new shapes. within the naturalism of George Gissing and Arthur Morrison, the fragmentary impressions of Ford Madox Ford, and the brooding secret of Alvin Langdon Coburn's photogravures, London emerged as a spotlight for dynamic, explicitly sleek paintings. even if a lot of those insights will be brushed off or no less than downplayed by way of next generations, the tips advanced throughout the interval from 1870 to 1914 count on not just the paintings of excessive modernists corresponding to Eliot and Woolf, but in addition that of later city theorists reminiscent of Foucault and de Certeau, and the novels and travelogues of up to date London writers Peter Ackroyd and Iain Sinclair. Nicholas Freeman recovers a feeling of late-Victorian London as a topic for dynamic theoretical and aesthetic experiments, and exhibits, in stimulating analyses of Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, Arthur Symons, and others how a lot of our figuring out of city house we owe to eminent (and no longer so eminent) Victorian figures. Written in a transparent and obtainable sort, the booklet restores a much-needed old viewpoint to our engagement with the city.
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Additional info for Conceiving the City: London, Literature, and Art 1870-1914
By the 1880s, Hapgood comments, ‘there was a general sense that the thinking about social issues had overtaken the public discourse available ¹¹⁴ F. W. J. , The Age of Realism (London: Penguin, 1974), 362. ¹¹⁵ G. Simmel, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’, trans. E. Shills, in P. , Metropolis: Centre and Symbol of Our Times (London: Macmillan, 1995), 30. ¹¹⁶ As Victor Neuberg points out in his edition, because Mayhew’s notebooks have been lost, ‘we know little or nothing about his methods of work,’ though he undoubtedly conducted many interviews with London’s poor.
However, such developments placed enormous pressure on the dominant art form of the nineteenth century: realism. As the century progressed, realism became an overheated alloy, buckling and twisting into shapes that had never before been imagined. BEING REALISTIC During the period 1870–1914, reactions to London can be divided into ﬁve broad categories. The ﬁrst two, wholesale delight and disgust, are traditional responses to the urban, and will be considered only incidentally. The other three are more signiﬁcant, since they are attempts to interpret and represent the city in artistic media rather than being primarily emotional reactions.
A. Turnbull, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1973), i. 109. ⁷⁷ Forster, Howards End, 329. ⁷⁸ Pugh, The City of the World, 12. ⁷⁹ E. A. Bennett, A Man from the North (London: John Lane/The Bodley Head, 1898), 106. ⁸⁰ G. and W. Grossmith, The Diary of a Nobody, ed. Kate Flint (1892; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), xvi–xvii; D. Birch, ‘A Life in Writing: Ruskin and the Uses of Suburbia’, in J. B. , Writing and Victorianism (London: Longman, 1997), 234–49. For a detailed consideration of late Victorian suburbia, see L.
Conceiving the City: London, Literature, and Art 1870-1914 by Nicholas Freeman