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Palgrave Macmillan

Literary Capitals in the Long Nineteenth Century

Spaces beyond the Centres

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Focuses on non-European cities and provincial European cities
  • Extends the period under discussion from the early 1800s to World War I
  • Explores the varied political and cultural roles of cities and regions whose status was considered marginal

Part of the book series: Literary Urban Studies (LIURS)

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Table of contents (10 chapters)


About this book

This book develops our understanding of the global literary field in the long nineteenth century by discussing nine different places outside the established metropoles. It shows how different economic, geographical and political factors combined to give each place its own distinctive literary culture and symbolic capital. Taking a geocritical approach, the book shows how its different case studies can be seen as ‘literary capitals’ in terms of their role within the wider nation, region or empire. The volume is divided into three parts. Part One discusses Kolkata, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires. Part Two considers ‘semi-peripheral’ European cities:  Pest-Buda (Budapest), Helsinki and Dublin. Part Three focuses on cities within Italy: Trieste, Florence and Rome. Drawing on a wide range of literary texts and different genres, the book reads the nineteenth-century literary field as a constellation where different connections can be plotted across various points on the map at different times. 



“This volume is an important contribution both to world literary studies and to research on literary place and the nineteenth century. I would say it is indispensable in any course on these fields. Focusing on semi-peripheral cities and their dynamic and complex formation in a great variety of genres, all the chapters offer unique perspectives. Each study can easily be read separately by anyone interested in the different cities and their cultural, social and political contexts as well as by readers fascinated by close literary analysis and formal aspects of the narration of places.” (Annika Mörte Alling, Associate Professor of French Literature, Department of Languages, Literature and Culture, Østfold University College, Halden, Norway)

“It was a pleasure for me to read this volume, as it composed a multifaceted city in front of my eyes. It reads like an urban kaleidoscope, but its beauty is also that it can be broken into pieces and used in classes. I willuse it in my classes on urbanity and representation, for sure, and am sure it will find a ready public amongst scholars of urban studies, and students of the field, graduate and undergraduate.” (Patrice Nganang, Department of Africana Studies, Chair Stony Brook University, USA)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

    Arunima Bhattacharya

  • University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

    Richard Hibbitt

  • Bard College Berlin, Berlin, Germany

    Laura Scuriatti

About the editors

Arunima Bhattacharya is lecturer in English at Edinburgh Napier University. Before this she was a postdoctoral research assistant on an AHRC-funded project, The Other from Within: Indian Anthropologists and the Birth of a Nation (University of Leeds, UK). Her publications include ‘Everyday Objects and Conversations Experiencing “Self” in the Transnational Space’ in Asian Women, Identity and Migration (2020). Her forthcoming monograph is titled Empire’s Metropolis: Calcutta Handbooks and the Making of a Colonial Capital.

Richard Hibbitt is Senior Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature at the University of Leeds, UK. His publications include the edited volume Other Capitals of the Nineteenth Century: An Alternative Mapping of Literary and Cultural Space (Palgrave, 2017), the companion piece to Literary Capitals in the Long Nineteenth Century: Spaces Beyond the Centres.  

Laura Scuriatti is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Bard College, Berlin. She is the author of Mina Loy’s Critical Modernism (2019), the editor of Groups, Coteries, Circles and Guilds: Modernist Aesthetics and the Utopian Lure of Community (2019), and the co-editor of The Exhibit in the Text: The Museological Practices of Literature (2008). 


Bibliographic Information

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