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Urban Microcosms 1789-1940

Urban microcosms are small-scale communal spaces that are integral to, or integrated into, city life. Some, such as railway stations or department stores, are typically located in city centres. Others, such as parks, are less quintessentially metropolitan, whilst harbours or beaches are often located on the peripheries of cities or outside them altogether. All are part of a network of nodes establishing connections in and beyond the city. Together, they shape and inflect the infrastructure of modern life. By introducing the concept of urban microcosm into social, cultural, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary volume challenges the widely held assumption that city life is evenly spread across its spaces. Sixteen case studies focus on selected urban microcosms from across Europe between 1789 and 1940, and examine the external appearance, representation, histories, and internal rules of these organizational structures and facilities. In so doing, they contribute to an understanding of modernity, and of the impact of the dynamics of urban life on human experience and intersubjectivity. Margit Dirscherl is Lecturer in German at St Hugh’s, University of Oxford. Astrid Köhler is Professor of German Literature and Comparative Cultural Studies at Queen Mary University of London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Towards a Phenomenology of Urban Microcosms Margit Dirscherl and Astrid Köhler I EXTERIOR PLACES 1. Jardins publics and jardins privés : Fictions of Urbanity in Nineteenth-Century Paris Robert Lethbridge 2. Marcel Proust’s ‘lieu factice’ and the Urban Microcosm Oliver Brett 3. The Eye of the Storm: Deceleration in Literary Depictions of Railway Stations Margit Dirscherl 4. Harbouring Urbanity Johanna Bundschuh-van Duikeren II INTERIOR PLACES 5. ‘What does New York City denote anyway? Big city is big city. I have been to Hanover often enough’: Museum and Department Store in Arno Schmidt’s Aus dem Leben eines Fauns Sven Hanuschek 6. The Department Store as Habitat of the Sophisticated Urbanite: Georg Hermann’s Der kleine Gast (1925) Godela Weiss-Sussex 7. ‘Kafka didn’t often come to the café’: The Prague Café as a Space of Memory Lucy Duggan 8. New Temples — Restaurants as Places of Modern Urbanity in Russia’s fin de siècle : The Restaurant as a New Sacred Place Botakoz Kassymbekova 9. Views of Italian Urban Microcosms in Giacomo Leopardi’s Work Andrea Penso III DISCURSIVE SPACES 10. Waves and Globes in Walter Benjamin’s Microcosmic Cities Esther Leslie 11. ‘For public business or amusements’: Places and Spaces of Urbanity in Town Directories, 1760–1820 Cristina Sasse 12. For Whom Tolls the Bell? The Changing Meaning of Church Bells in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literary Descriptions of Villages and Cities Elio Baldi IV NETWORKS BEYOND THE CITIES 13. Replicating and Representing the Abandoned City: Artists’ Coastal Colonies and Depictions of the Seashore Charles Jones 14. Nineteenth-Century Spa Towns and Urban Microcosms: The Case of Karlovy Vary Astrid Köhler 15. Patient Narratives as Distorted Mirrors: Letters from a Nineteenth-Century Psychiatric Hospital Markus Schiegg 16. Les Hommes de la Route in the Boudoir : The Road Conference as an Urban Microcosm (1910–38) David Peleman Notes on Contributors Bibliography Index

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