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The Demographic Imagination and the Nineteenth-Century City
Paris, London, New York

$103.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107095595

$ 103.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • In this provocative book, Nicholas Daly tracks the cultural effects of the population explosion of the nineteenth century, the 'demographic transition' to the modern world. As the crowded cities of Paris, London and New York went through similar transformations, a set of shared narratives and images of urban life circulated among them, including fantasies of urban catastrophe, crime dramas, and tales of haunted public transport, refracting the hell that is other people. In the visual arts, sentimental genre pictures appeared that condensed the urban masses into a handful of vulnerable figures: newsboys and flower-girls. At the end of the century, proto-ecological stories emerge about the sprawling city as itself a destroyer. This lively study excavates some of the origins of our own international popular culture, from noir visions of the city as a locus of crime, to utopian images of energy and community.

    • Examines the influence of massive population growth on the literary imagination
    • Offers startling insight into similarities between cultural changes taking place in Europe and America through focus on London, Paris and New York
    • An interdisciplinary and 'cultural studies' approach incorporating visual arts as well as literary and dramatic culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The scope of Daly's project is commendable, embracing the long nineteenth century through the cultural lenses of England, France, and the United States … In opening the possibility for comparison based on the popularity and afterlife of a cultural text as it invokes various figures of the 'demographic imagination', Daly's project is a delightful engagement with various material and aesthetic cultures of the nineteenth century.' Kathleen Morris, BSLS Reviews (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107095595
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Under the volcano: mass destruction
    2. The streets of wherever: French melodrama and Anglophone localization
    3. The ghost comes to town: the haunted city
    4. The frenzy of the legible in the age of crowds
    5. Fur and feathers: animals and the city in an Anthropocene era

  • Author

    Nicholas Daly, University College Dublin
    Nicholas Daly is Professor of Modern English and American Literature at the School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. He is the author of Modernism, Romance, and the Fin de Siècle (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Literature, Technology and Modernity (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and Sensation and Modernity in the 1860s (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

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