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Re-presenting the Metropolis: Architecture, Urban Experience and Social Life in London, 1800-1840 [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Dana Arnold
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

19 Oct 2000
The evolution of an urban self-consciousness in London in the early 19th century played a fundamental role in shaping the city. In this volume, the author explores responses to the city among the urban bourgeoisie and their influence on the experience and development of London. Principal areas of interest include the creation of public open spaces, new roads and bridges, public monuments and buildings for show, including museums, galleries and private townhouses. Evidence of attitudes towards the metropolis is drawn from a range of written sources including contemporary commentators, guidebooks, literature and parliamentary reports and enquiries. The study of sensory responses to the city allows the exploration of the dynamic between city and society and a broader cultural understanding of urban form. London is re-presented as a matrix of key architectural, social and cultural themes, and as the emblematic expression of different kinds of identities relating to gender, class and nationhood.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited; illustrated edition edition (19 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840142324
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840142327
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,520,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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3.0 out of 5 stars A nice tour of London 16 July 2009
Throughout six chapters, Dana Arnold offers a city 'tour' of the London 1800-1840 - as acknowledged in the Postscript, with the conceptual support of Wittgenstein (!?).

'The View from St Paul's' focuses on the panoramic view offered by the platform at the top of St Paul and by a contemporary nearby panorama, and extends the analysis to the representation of the metropolis from within and without.

'The Art of Walking the Streets' deals with the rejuvanation of the urban street pattern of London, and its extension beyond the city, and how it could be experienced both visually and physically by the bourgeois population.

'The Nation of London' analyses how the modern metropolis in the making 1800-1840 allows the embodiment and enactment of national identity and imperial identity with new monuments and new developments to house an ever expanding population/nation.

In 'The Theory of Police', the authors elicits the balance of power and the conflicts of influence and authority between metropolitan bodies to control the urban population and the symbolics and rituals of the urban space.

'Free-born Sons [and daughters] of Commerce' analyses the fabric of the modernizing metropolis in terms of class divide and segregation in different neighbourhoods according to the pattern of major new street openings, a divide underlined by choices of architectural styles, and the creation of club houses as part of a network of social institutions supporting the growing public life of the national capital.

Finally, 'To Gaze, to Admire, and to Covet' enters the houses of distinguished bourgeois who collected objects from far afield for exhibition and elevation of their social status, in recently re-developed, hence re-imaged, areas of the city, at a time of growing commodification of objects and before national institutions like the National Gallery and the British Museum took over for the enjoyment of objects by a larger audience.
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