Holism and division in dreams of the metropolis

Sangster, M. (2020) Holism and division in dreams of the metropolis. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 31(3), pp. 424-448.

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Abstract

In this article, I propose to address how and why a diverse cluster of fantastical and experimental writers have profited by cutting through the Gordian knot of realist complexities to make assertions about the essential characteristics of imagined metropolises. The principal subjects will be fictions by M. John Harrison, Terry Pratchett, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Calvino, G. K. Chesterton, and N. K. Jemisin. As the size of this company indicates, my aim will not be exhaustive analysis of a particular example, but rather to evoke a wide range of productive uses for whole imagined cities in order to counter negative stereotypes about holistic conjurings. Some of the metropolises I will discuss represent unifying ideals, but they are far from being as myopic and deceptive in their doing so as critiques like de Certeau's would imply. In these texts, holistic evocations and the conjuring of oppositions produce ideals and counter-ideals that can help us address the important issues that Polo's statement to Kublai Khan implicitly raises. If our cities conceal aspects of our ambitions and longings, how are these crystallized, and what might we learn from attempting or imagining their interpretation?

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sangster, Dr Matthew
Authors: Sangster, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
Journal Abbr.:JFA
Publisher:International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
ISSN:0897-0521
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts
First Published:First published in Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 31(3): 424-448
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Editor

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