Buried Cities: Introduction

Jason Finch, Eva Norrman


The idea for the special issue ‘Buried Cities’ originated in the conference Literary Second Cities (2015) and recent work in literary urban studies by the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS) and its forerunner the Helsinki Literature and the City Network (HLCN). The conference led to a book with the same name, but one aspect of layered urbanity was excluded: former cities buried beneath present-day cities. ‘Buried Cities’ explores the concealment and unearthing of city history and city identities, and sees burial, both metaphoric and actual, as a way of getting hold of the layered nature of human culture and urban history as projected in literary representations. The introduction examines treatments of burial in various academic disciplines including urban studies, spatial theory and place philosophy. The contributions to this special issue explore literary manifestations of related concepts including renaming, translocality, stratigraphy, subterranean infrastructures, excavation, disinterment, deep mapping, temporality and its relationship to the build-up of layers and disappearances, entanglement and paths. Broader conclusions for literary geographies and literary urban studies are drawn relating to spatial metaphor (applied to emotion or personality), urban pluralities (whether linguistic or cultural), and collective memory.


burial; city; literary urban studies; disinterment; place; underground

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