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City Codes


  • 12 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.503 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 813/.509355
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: PS374.C5 W57 1996
  • LC Subject headings:
    • American fiction--20th century--History and criticism
    • City and town life in literature
    • English fiction--20th century--History and criticism
    • Singer, Isaac Bashevis,--1904-1991--Criticism and interpretation
    • Literature and society--English-speaking countries

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521473149 | ISBN-10: 0521473144)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published January 1996

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$103.00 (C)

City Codes is a study of the representation of the city in the modern novel that takes difference as its point of departure, so that cities are read according to the cultural and social position of the urbanite. City Codes argues that the modern urban novel, in contrast to earlier novels, is characterized by an intersection of public and private space, but that this intersection is mapped differently according to the position of the city dweller in terms of history, politics, nationality, gender, class, and race.


Part I. Introduction: Reading Cities: 1. Cultural models of the city - whose city? 2. Narrative cartography, or the language of setting; 3. The modern urban novel: new blueprint for self and place; 4. The itinerary: Warsaw, Jerusalem, New York, Chicago, Paris, Dublin, and London; Part II. Partitioned Cities: Spatial and Temporal Walls: 5. Issac Bashevis Singer's The Family Moskat; 6. Amos Oz's My Michael; Part III. Divided Cities: Social Walls; 7. Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie; 8. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man; Part IV. Translated Cities: Domesticating the Foreign: 9. Henry James The Ambassadors ; 10. Henry Roth's Call It Sleep; Part V. Estranged Cities: Defamiliarizing Home: 11. James Joyce's Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man;12. Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway; Epilogue: Metropolitan musings; Works cited.

Prize Winner

Choice Outstanding Academic Books 1996

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Books for 1996


"She provides an excellent comparative analysis of various cityscapes, showing how they vary as they are experienced by expatriates, tourists, provincials, immigrants, women, and African Americans. Moreover, the author makes good use of other disciplines, especially the visual arts, to illustrate key aspects of the fiction. Necessary reading for anyone interested in the modern novel." Choice

"Hana Wirth-Nesher's study of the modern urban novel is remarkable for its clairty of argument, its impressive structural and rhetorical qualities, and its wonderful appreciation of difference..." Brock Clarke, American Studies International

"Wirth-Nesher's roster is impressive and each author's contribution is distinctive." Jerome Klinkowitz, American Studies

"City Codes recuperates an earlier mode of literary discourse and redifines the modern urban novel. Neither the male nor female viewer is sufficient condition, Hana Wirth-Nesher's analysis implies, and in so doing she makes available for further study and exploration the riches of urban fiction. That is one of the most impressive achievements of this most important book." Comparative Literature

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