Infernal Cities

deadline for submissions: 
April 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Stanley Szczesny
contact email: 

This is a session for PAMLA 2021 in Las Vegas.

Abstract: The idea of infernal cities is a paradox. If, as Aristotle argues, a city aims at achieving and providing "the highest good" for its citizens, then how can a city organize in a hellish place for hellish ends? But infernal cities frequently occur in literature. The Bible abounds with wicked cities, Dante, Milton, Blake, Eliot, and Bishop all include images of hellish cities in their poetry, and the term "Sin City" is often used to describe Las Vegas and other cities, real and fictional, that base their economy around providing opportunity for vice. This session seeks to understand the apparently paradoxical purpose these infernal cities serve in the lives of their citizens.

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