Dickensian Counter-Mapping, Overlaying, and Troping: Producing the Virtual City
The introduction shows how Dickens provides a multi-sense experience of the city, which focuses not just on London but wanders restlessly and simultaneously through different cities of the world. The experience of ‘citiness’ involves the simultaneity of past and future and prefigures today’s video games with their emphasis on the shuttling between older novelistic universes and future utopias or dystopias. Dickens’s ability to see awry or from new angles is part of his serious game; his novels are a political playground or workshop to reconfigure the polis. Three techniques are used: counter-mapping (new information maps), overlaying (ghosting and haunting), and troping (the invention or regeneration of urban tropes). In this way, Dickens gestures at coming (post)modernities and at a re-enchanted and empowering social space.