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Schwab, Christiane (26. July 2018): The transforming city in nineteenth-century literary journalism. Ramón de Mesonero Romanos’ ‘Madrid scenes’ and Charles Dickens’ ‘Street sketches’. In: Urban History, Vol. 46, No. 2: pp. 225-245 [PDF, 165kB]


Nineteenth-century urbanization and industrialization in western Europe have clearly contributed to the formation of societal knowledge and self-reflexive cultural iconographies. Especially from the 1820s onwards, one major context for discussing the social and cultural diversity of the city and concomitant socio-political tensions was the emerging market of journals and magazines. Based upon the writings of two exemplary authors, this article investigates with which techniques and metaphors nineteenth-century journalistic sketches depicted urban sociability and conditions. Furthermore, it reflects on how not only the ever more differentiating urban environments but also the proximity of different networks and institutions of knowledge encouraged the refinement of social observation and thought. Exploring a neglected genre of social knowledge production, the article proposes new perspectives for urban history and aims at stimulating a critical review of contemporary research practices in all branches of the social sciences.

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