London Underground

A Cultural Geography

David Ashford

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ISBN: 9781781387085

Publication: May 10, 2013

In London Underground: A Cultural Geography, David Ashford sets out to chart one of the strangest, as well as the most familiar, spaces in London. This book provides a theoretical account of the evolution of an archetypal modern environment. The first to complete that slow process of estrangement from the natural topography initiated by the Industrial Revolution, the London Underground is shown to be what French anthropologist Marc Augé has termed non-lieu - a non-place, like motorway, supermarket or airport lounge, compelled to interpret its relationship to the invisible landscape it traverses through the medium of signs and maps. Surveying an unusually wide variety of material, ranging from the Victorian triple-decker novel, to Modernist art and architecture, to Pop music and graffiti, this cultural geography suggests that the tube-network is a transitional form, linking the alienated spaces of Victorian England to the virtual spaces of our contemporary consumer-capitalism. Recounting the history of the production of this new space, and of the struggles it has generated, London Underground is nothing less than the story of how people have attempted to make a home in the psychopathological spaces of the modern world.

David Ashford is Lecturer in English at the University of Surrey.

Acknowledgments Notes on convention The Book of the Machine: A User’s Guide 1. The Psychopathology of Modern Space: The Underground Railways of the Inner Circle in the Victorian Imagination 2. The Lord of the Dynamos: The American Invasion of the Tube-Network in Theodore Dreiser’s 'The Stoic' (1947) 3. Blueprints for Babylon: Modernist Mapping of the London Underground in the Inter-War Period 4. Making a Home in Modernity: The Conceptual History of Metroland 5. ‘A Vision of Christmas in Hell’: The Tube-Shelter Children in Images by Bill Brandt and Henry Moore 6. Insurrection in Alphabet-City: Counterculture in the London Underground, 1963–1991 7. The Ghost in the Machine: Psychogeography in the London Underground, 1991–2007 Coda: User Created Content Bibliography Index

Ashford gives us a very enjoyable account of the cultural history of the London Underground and this book should inspire management historians to think about the cultural side of organizations more, while bringing cultural history close to an interest in the cultural side of economic life.
  The Journal of Urban History, Volume 41/4 2014

David Ashford's London Underground is the first full-length study of the London Underground's cultural history, and questions of authority and possibility recur throughout. ... London Underground makes a convincing argument for deliberate and aesthetic interventions in the early Tube environment.
  The Cambridge Quarterly

A strength of Ashford’s study is his account of literary and artistic responses to the new experience of underground travel.
  Times Higher Education

... this is a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of how London and its Underground have interacted for 150 years. A specialist book, recommended for readers with imagination and interest in the wider picture.
Richard Thorogood   Underground News, Number 625

A brilliant work of cultural history, full of original insights conveyed with clarity and gusto.
Michael Saler  

A rich study of the underground transport system, placing the network in its historical and cultural context.

Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781781387085

Publication: May 10, 2013

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