The Textual City: Walking, Reading, and Understanding the City in Literature

Andrew Schmitz

Abstract

The Textual City explores how urban walking literature helped develop and shape what Henri Lefebvre calls the urban phenomenon. I shall examine this development through a chronological body of key transhistorical texts that range across a transatlantic triangle, from London, Paris, and New York reflecting the overlapping evolution of both the urban phenomenon and urban literature that depicts this evolution. My project originates at the intersection of place, urban, and literary studies. I focus on walking texts whose experiential and phenomenological traits provide the matrix for a practice of everyday life which links walking and reading as imperative in the development of space. This investigation will also shed light on the constant development of Modernism and focuses on the city as a laboratory of this evolution, how it is manifested in text, and how these texts contribute to our understanding of the world we live in.