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“Against the Grand Project”: Iain Sinclair’s Local London

“Against the Grand Project”: Iain Sinclair’s Local London DANIEL WESTON egionalism is at the heart of Iain Sinclair's forty-yearslong engagement with London, and a localized approach and firsthand experience of the metropolis in terms of its geographical diversity can provide an effective counterargument to totalizing approaches to the city. Focusing on one of London's literary spokesmen as a regional or even a local writer challenges the conventional binary relationship between metropolis and region. The rise of the global city has perpetuated the low stock of the region that has been apparent since at least as long ago as Lewis Mumford's championing of the organic ideal city over dreaded urban sprawl. A demonstration of the problems involved in setting the city in opposition to locality and/or region is, I hope, the payoff of the close reading that follows. Iain Sinclair's work does not function under the aegis of this model but rather overlays competing mappings of the same space on top of one another. This article develops a counterintuitive approach to Sinclair's nonfiction via a consideration of the theoretical and cultural implications of reenvisioning the metropolis through a "provincialized" lens. Drawing on the idea that London is knowable only as a series of villages, Sinclair's texts focalize http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

“Against the Grand Project”: Iain Sinclair’s Local London

Contemporary Literature , Volume 56 (2) – Sep 1, 2015

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
ISSN
1548-9949
Publisher site
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Abstract

DANIEL WESTON egionalism is at the heart of Iain Sinclair's forty-yearslong engagement with London, and a localized approach and firsthand experience of the metropolis in terms of its geographical diversity can provide an effective counterargument to totalizing approaches to the city. Focusing on one of London's literary spokesmen as a regional or even a local writer challenges the conventional binary relationship between metropolis and region. The rise of the global city has perpetuated the low stock of the region that has been apparent since at least as long ago as Lewis Mumford's championing of the organic ideal city over dreaded urban sprawl. A demonstration of the problems involved in setting the city in opposition to locality and/or region is, I hope, the payoff of the close reading that follows. Iain Sinclair's work does not function under the aegis of this model but rather overlays competing mappings of the same space on top of one another. This article develops a counterintuitive approach to Sinclair's nonfiction via a consideration of the theoretical and cultural implications of reenvisioning the metropolis through a "provincialized" lens. Drawing on the idea that London is knowable only as a series of villages, Sinclair's texts focalize

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Sep 1, 2015

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