21L.701 / SP.510J / WGS.510J Literary Interpretation: Literature and Urban Experience

As taught in: Spring 2009

A man in a black coat sits on a subway and reads a book.

Literature and the urban experience come together as a man reads his book on the subway. (Image by JanneM on flickr.).




Prof. Sarah Brouillette

Course Features

Course Description

Alienation, overcrowding, sensory overload, homelessness, criminality, violence, loneliness, sprawl, blight. How have the realities of city living influenced literature's formal and thematic techniques? How useful is it to think of literature as its own kind of "map" of urban space? Are cities too grand, heterogeneous, and shifting to be captured by writers? In this seminar we will seek answers to these questions in key city literature, and in theoretical works that endeavor to understand the culture of cities.