The evolution of an urban self-consciousness in London in the early nineteenth century played a fundamental role in the shaping of the city.
In this volume Dana Arnold explores the responses to the city among the urban bourgeoisie and their influence on the experience and development of London.
Each of the chapters re-presents the metropolis through a thematic consideration of the urban infrastructure and architecture including public open spaces, new roads and bridges, public monuments, and buildings for show including museums, galleries and townhouses.
These discrete 'walks' around London cohere into a kaleidoscopic view of the metropolis as a continually evolving entity.
The nature and perception of urban experience and social life are mapped against this changing image of London revealing at once the modernity of the metropolis and the importance of the past - especially antiquity - to the construction of this transient present. Evidence of attitudes towards the metropolis is drawn from a range of contemporary visual and written sources including commentaries, guidebooks, literature and parliamentary reports and enquiries.
The study of sensory responses to the city allows the exploration of the dynamic between city and society and a broader cultural understanding of urban form.
London is re-presented as a matrix of key architectural, social and cultural themes and as the emblematic expression of different kinds of identities relating to gender,class and nationhood.