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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter expands the concept of the urban by bringing it in relation to hyperspace (the idea of a fourth dimension) and hypostatization (the process of converting abstractions into physical objects), showing how these notions inflected literary representations of the metropolis and gave them ‘a precarious physicality’. London by the end of the century was ‘an ambiguous site, at once abstract and material’, as shown by writers like Wells, Conrad, Madox Ford, Edwin A. Abbott, Arthur Morrison, Arthur Machen, and Thomas Burke. Taking London as its main example, the chapter seeks to draw a connection between late-Victorian interest in the fourth dimension and contemporaneous literary representations of the cityscape, as writers repeatedly show a troubling concern about the failures of permanent escape through time travel to other dimensions and ultimately reveal ‘the seemingly inevitable solipsism of transcendence’.

Keywords: London, city, urban, hyperspace, hypostatization, metropolis, fourth dimension, Wells, Morrison, Machen

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