Reading constellations urban modernity in victorian fiction patricia mckee highly original thoughtful theoretically sophisticated and historically grounded study. Reading constellations urban modernity in victorian fiction by patricia mckee patricia reading constellations urban modernity in victorian fiction oxford oxford university press 2014 208pp 6500 hardcover in this densely and despite its title it sometimes seems to be a book more about benjamin than about victorian fiction . The modern city in the works of charles dickens thomas hardy and henry james disrupts the ideal of progressive improvement which often framed modernity in the victorian imagination this study uses walter benjamins idea of the constellation to clarify these authors undermining of presumptions of progressive history and to elaborate the disputed and distracted urban modernities of their . The modern world and indeed modern technology systematically block the urban constellations that are found in victorian fiction we are left instead with a panorama and its conventions a merely additive collection of reproduced images events and persons accumulating like benjamins image of the beads of a rosary in repetition of the . The changes wrought by industrialization in the nineteenth century were heralded by many as the inevitable march of progress yet a fair share of critics opposed the encroachment of modernity into everyday life wedding walter benjamins critique of urban modernity with several canonical works of
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