Literary Representations of Space: Urban Experiences in 18th Century London
The lecture will acquaint students with various ways of approaching and understanding representations of space in literature, including theories of space by Henry Lefebvre and Michel deCerteau. To show that readings and analyses of historical spaces can indeed be fascinating, the lecture will proceed by taking a closer look at urban experiences in 18th-century London. More specifically, the great diversity of urban experiences in this period will be illustrated with the help of John Gay's poem "Trivia: Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London" (1716), which exemplifies the significance of individual phenomena for experiencing urban space, such as weather conditions, the crowd, dress or time. The lecture will also address the extent to which physical mobility, in the form of walking, influenced the way London street life was experienced. Via a close reading of London as portrayed by Gay, students will learn that literary representations of urban space are more than just mimetic blueprints of cities.
Catharina Drott is a doctoral candidate at the International PhD Programme Literary and Cultural Studies (IPP) in Gießen. She holds a degree in Teaching English and Music and an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies, while also receiving a PhD-scholarship from Justus-Liebig-University Gießen. Her main research interests lie in early modern and 18th century British literature, cultural mobility studies and studies of space.