Writing and Reading the Urban (Hyper) Text of London
Mancini, C. Bruna
In "Technocity", Marco Minicangeli asserts that “the spatial elements of the city keep track of time. Lines, straight lines, angles, pavements, shops: places where human experience interlaces, where it is possible to ‘remember’ or to plan a future more and more uncertain”. The city is a place of comparison: the space becomes time, places ‘remember’ something, and returning to the city means going back to one’s own past. Donald J Olsen, in his book "The City as a Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna", considers the urban fabric as a document which can communicate values, not only an artistic creation aimed at giving pleasure, but also at being a tangible expression of thoughts and morality. The city is a text waiting to be written and read in literary and narrative terms; a city of signs, imbued with histories relevant to its origins, to its citizens and to the society it has developed into. It is a labyrinthine web of streets, lanes, subways, tunnels, and bridges always invaded by crowd and traffic, which constitutes and builds the urban hyper-text, protagonist of the ‘epic’ novel "Mother London" (1988) by Michael Moorcock. Here the city acquires such a depth that no metaphor could exactly represent except, maybe, the hypertext. The essay follows some of the hints of this hypertext of London in English novels, with particular regards to those by Moorcock and Ian Sinclair.
Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
C. Bruna Mancini "Writing and Reading the Urban (Hyper) Text of London", in: Prospero, X (2003), pp. 167-178