The City in Word and Image - Problems and Possibilities of the Metropolis

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University of Dundee
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"All great art is born of the metropolis" - Ezra Pound
"A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it" - Aldous Huxley

Taking as its starting point the aspects of alienation and creative charge that are implied to co-exist in the city, this international conference aims to consider the ways in which literature and visual culture can represent, reinterpret and challenge the perception of lived experience in the urban milieu. As the most prominent locus of socio-economic ferment, where the apparently intertwined agencies of capitalism, commercialism, politics, and technological innovation hold sway, in what way does the city modulate the 'artistic voice' and effect a bespoke yet still authentic culture? The conference will consider issues relating to the seemingly intractable problems of the urban and the corresponding possibilities that serve to drive the creative process as escape, negotiation and/or resistance in text, artwork and filmmaking.

We invite proposals for papers which address the issues of city dwelling as they relate to the production of literature and the arts. Topics may include (but are not limited) to the following suggestions:
■Parks and green spaces
■Slums, ghettos, and dangerous corners
■Gothic representations (human degeneration, architectural decay, etc.)
■Romantic vs. Victorian portrayals
■Nineteenth and twentieth-century representations of philanthropy/social reform
■Industrial growth and the rise of pollution
■Utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares

Abstracts (250 words) for a 20 minute presentation must be submitted via email to by 24 May 2013. We also ask that you include a brief biographical sketch, and please let us know if you will be requiring AV equipment.