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Untimely ruins : an archaeology of American urban modernity, 1819-1919 / Nick Yablon

By: Yablon, Nick [author.]Material type: TextTextPublisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2009]Copyright date: ©2009Description: 1 online resource (xiii, 380 pages) : illustrations, mapsContent type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780226946658; 0226946657; 9780226946634; 0226946630; 9780226946641; 0226946649Subject(s): Cities and towns -- United States -- History -- 19th century | New York (N.Y.) -- In literature | Cairo (Ill.) -- History -- 19th century | San Francisco (Calif.) -- History -- 20th century | American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism | Ruins in literature | Ruins in art | SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Sociology -- Urban | American literature | Cities and towns | Literature | Ruins in art | Ruins in literature | California -- San Francisco | Illinois -- Cairo | New York (State) -- New York | United States | 1800-1999Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc. | History. | Electronic books. Additional physical formats: Print version:: Untimely ruins.DDC classification: 307.760973 LOC classification: HT123 | .Y33 2009ebOnline resources: Click here to access online
Contents:
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
Summary: This is an extended meditation on the meanings of American ruins which explains why they are distinctive, what they reveal, and how they matterSummary: American ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in discussions of urban blight and home foreclosures, in commemorations of 9/11, or in postapocalyptic movies. In this highly original book, Nick Yablon argues that the association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier period in the nation s history. Recovering numerous scenes of urban desolation from failed banks, abandoned towns, and dilapidated tenements to the crumbling skyscrapers and bridges envisioned in science fiction and cartoons Untimely Ruins challenges the myth that ruins were absent or insignificant objects in nineteenth-century America. The first book to document an American cult of the ruin, Untimely Ruins traces its deviations as well as derivations from European conventions. Unlike classical and Gothic ruins, which decayed gracefully over centuries and inspired philosophical meditations about the fate of civilizations, America s ruins were often untimely, appearing unpredictably and disappearing before they could accrue an aura of age. As modern ruins of steel and iron, they stimulated critical reflections about contemporary cities, and the unfamiliar kinds of experience they enabled. Unearthing evocative sources everywhere from the archives of amateur photographers to the contents of time-capsules, Untimely Ruins exposes crucial debates about the economic, technological, and cultural transformations known as urban modernity. The result is a fascinating cultural history that uncovers fresh perspectives on the American city
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This is an extended meditation on the meanings of American ruins which explains why they are distinctive, what they reveal, and how they matter

American ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in discussions of urban blight and home foreclosures, in commemorations of 9/11, or in postapocalyptic movies. In this highly original book, Nick Yablon argues that the association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier period in the nation s history. Recovering numerous scenes of urban desolation from failed banks, abandoned towns, and dilapidated tenements to the crumbling skyscrapers and bridges envisioned in science fiction and cartoons Untimely Ruins challenges the myth that ruins were absent or insignificant objects in nineteenth-century America. The first book to document an American cult of the ruin, Untimely Ruins traces its deviations as well as derivations from European conventions. Unlike classical and Gothic ruins, which decayed gracefully over centuries and inspired philosophical meditations about the fate of civilizations, America s ruins were often untimely, appearing unpredictably and disappearing before they could accrue an aura of age. As modern ruins of steel and iron, they stimulated critical reflections about contemporary cities, and the unfamiliar kinds of experience they enabled. Unearthing evocative sources everywhere from the archives of amateur photographers to the contents of time-capsules, Untimely Ruins exposes crucial debates about the economic, technological, and cultural transformations known as urban modernity. The result is a fascinating cultural history that uncovers fresh perspectives on the American city

Includes bibliographical references (pages 295-362) and index

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

Description based on print version record

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