Written into the City: Reading Literary Scale in Two African Metropolises

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dc.contributor.advisor Nicholson, R en
dc.contributor.author Cole, Michael en
dc.date.accessioned 2019-04-02T20:39:59Z en
dc.date.issued 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46351 en
dc.description.abstract This thesis offers an interdisciplinary analysis of a range of urban novels set it the African metropolises of Johannesburg and Lagos. I have chosen these cities not only because they are large, cosmopolitan cities that produce a disproportionate amount of the wealth in their respective regions, but because they offer interesting counterpoints to each other. While both have been depicted in a wide range of fiction, other discourses have been largely silent about Lagos. Johannesburg, by contrast, has been widely discussed in academia, the popular media and official documents. Drawing from this information, I use Johannesburg as a tentative control for understanding Lagos as a metropolis that has excited authors and Lagosians, but left other commentators cold. Reading at the intersections of Johannesburg and Lagos has foregrounded three themes that register throughout the project: relational scale, urban surfaces and domestic space. Relational scale, drawn from human geography, is particularly important, not only because it identifies the ways in which urbanites politics cityscapes and assert rights to the city, but in the way it becomes an important methodological tool for reading the city through fictional texts. This thesis develops a sensitivity to what I have called literary scale, revealing the preoccupations and innovative strategies of characters depicted in the fiction that seem not to have interested writers of other types of urban discourse, even those dedicated to Johannesburg. Literary scale also opens a line of analysis that reveals as much as about Johannesburg as Lagos. In addition, scale clarifies the importance of urban surfaces and their relation to domestic timespaces. Johannesburg's segregationist and apartheid past is suggestive of such surfaces in two ways, rendering skin both a marker of urbanity and a surface on which the limits of the city are violently contested. Lagosians, implicated in a deep history of settlement, have a different but no less important relationship to surfaces, working and reworking Lagos's insufficient streetscapes in an effort to accommodate themselves. In both cities the homeplace or heart-hold is fundamental to an urbanite's ability to arrange surfaces that would otherwise be incommensurable, into some kind of coherent, sustaining scale. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265139613502091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title Written into the City: Reading Literary Scale in Two African Metropolises en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline English en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en
pubs.elements-id 767320 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2019-04-03 en

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