Untimely Ruins An Archaeology of American Urban Modernity, 1819-1919
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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 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.
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List price: $33.00
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 2/1/2010
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
|List of Illustrations|
|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|