CFP: Cities and Fantasy: Urban Imaginary Across Cultures, 1830–1930
The long nineteenth century witnessed the rapid expansion and modernization of cities around the globe. It is often also heralded, by critics working with Anglo-American literature, at least, as the starting point for studies of the fantastic. Nonetheless, despite the claims of critics such as Rosemary Jackson and Stephen Prickett that modern fantasy is, in part, a reaction to industrialization, few projects have explored nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century fantasies’ engagement with the urban, and fewer still have attempted to address the intertwinement of fantasy and the city across cultures, a gap this volume seeks to fill.
Studies in literary works that engage with the city during the period tend to focus on how writers represented, captured, negotiated, or, at times, contested the changes brought about by various modernisation and industrialisation projects that were often related to imperial and colonial expansion or trade and economic initiatives. The emphasis has often been on the realistic, the everyday, and the busy metropolitan space. Critics have explored how cities have become real-and-imagined places in literary works that have been conferred with symbolic and structural values (see, for example, Robert Alter’s Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and the Language of the Novel). Works such as Jamieson Ridenhour’s Darkest London: The Gothic Cityscape in Victorian Literature contribute to a growing body of work that focuses on the urban gothic, both as a sub-genre and a narrative mode in literature dating from the nineteenth century to the contemporary time. The urban gothic is an important piece of any project on fantasy and urban spaces, including this one. We also hope, however, to include contributions addressing how other forms of fantasy or work in the fantastic mode has been used to engage with the city. Even marvelous nineteenth-century idyllic fantasies usually engage with the unescapable city in some way, or even substantially. We especially seek contributions that explore fantasy and the city in different cultural contexts, or that explore the relationship between the city and fantasy across cultures, such as how fantastic literature can put cities in conversations—in metaphorical, physical or symbolic terms.
Instead of focusing on one single national context, this edited volume invites contributions from scholars who work with texts that are situated in different cultural contexts and historic moments between 1830 to 1930. The volume seeks to … READ MORE