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After-Images of the City

by Joan Ramon Resina and Dieter Ingenschay Cornell University Press
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Pbk 304 pages
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Criticism on the textual and iconographic construction of the city is extensive, yet the problem of historical change in representations of “the urban” has received little attention. Believing traditional accounts are limited by their reflection of a specific historical moment, Joan Ramon Resina and Dieter Ingenschay focus, by contrast, on transition. In essays written for this volume, scholars of literary and visual studies, the history of architecture, cultural theory, and urban geography explore the ways perceptual or conceptual paradigms of the city supersede or replace others, while at the same time retaining the “after-image” of what went before.The writers touch on a wide variety of issues related to contemporary urban cultures as they journey through cities including New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Tijuana, Berlin, and London. Drawing on the work of Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Camilo José Cela, Honoré de Balzac, and Alfred Stieglitz, their approach is broadly cultural rather than technical. After-Images of the City takes into account the intrinsic instability of the image and reveals that representations of the modern metropolis cannot be fixed in time and history.
''This collection of intriguing conference papers explores the culturally constructed imageries that crystallize, complement, and redefine urban experiences and futures-a multifaceted concept Resina (romance studies and comparative literature, Cornell Univ.) elaborates in his theoretical overview. Apart from an insightful exploration of multiple after-images in Steiglitz, photography, and New York (by Mary Woods), essays generally address this central concept through literary texts and related theories, leavened with references to anthropology and planning. . . Summing Up: Recommended.''-Choice, November 2003
Joan Ramon Resina is Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature at Cornell University; among his previous books is Iberian Cities, which he edited.

Dieter Ingenschay is Professor of Hispanic Languages at Humboldt University of Berlin and the author of several books in German.