Untimely Ruins An Archaeology of American Urban Modernity, 1819-1919

ISBN-10: 0226946649
ISBN-13: 9780226946641
Edition: 2010
Authors: Nick Yablon
List price: $33.00
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Description: American urban ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in debates about home foreclosures, images of 9/11, or post-apocalyptic movies. Nick Yablon argues that this association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier  More...

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Book details

List price: $33.00
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 2/1/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.430
Language: English

American urban ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in debates about home foreclosures, images of 9/11, or post-apocalyptic movies. Nick Yablon argues that this association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier period in the nation's history. Recovering numerous scenes of urban desolationfrom accounts of failed banks, abandoned towns, and dilapidated tenements to popular fiction and cartoons that envisioned disintegrating skyscrapers and bridgesYablon challenges the myth that ruins were absent or at least insignificant objects in nineteenth-century America. Unlike classical and gothic ruins, which decayed over centuries and inspired philosophical meditations about the past, American ruins often appeared unpredictably and disappeared before they could accrue an aura of age. In doing so, they generated critical reflections about contemporary cities, and the new kinds of experience they enabled. Unearthing evocative depictions of these untimely ruins everywhere from the archives of photography clubs to the pages of pulp magazines, Yablon reconstructs crucial debates about America's economic, technological, and cultural transformation in an age of urban modernity.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Of Light Bulbs and Bathtubs: Excavating the Modern City
Crumbling Columns and Day-Old Ruins: Specters of Antiquity on the American Grand Tour, 1819-1837
"Even Eden, you know, ain't all built": Paper Cities, British Investors, and the Ruins of Cairo, Illinois, 1837-1844
The Petrified City: Antiquity and Modernity in Melville's New York, 1835-1865
Relapsing into Barbarism: Labor, Ethnicity, and Ruin in Prospective Histories of Urban America, 1865-1906
"Plagued By Their Own Inventions": Reframing the Technological Ruins of San Francisco, 1906-1909
The Metropolitan Life in Ruins: Architectural and Fictional Speculations in New York, 1893-1919
Epilogue: Toward the Posthuman Ruin
Notes
Index

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