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Title: The postmodern city : architecture and literature
Author: Jaccaud, Sabine Jeanne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3587 8006
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis explores Postmodern architecture and narrative representations of the city as an emblem for the presence of the past in a contemporary environment. The architectural theory of Aldo Rossi is a model for this perception of the city as a locus of memory. Berlin, London and Paris are the places I will consider. Part I presents examples of architectural practice of the 1980s. A project for a museum of German history in Berlin, the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London and the Place de Stalingrad in Paris re-work urban historical traces. Chapter 4 outlines the theories behind each project and how they develop notions of memory within the city. Part II pursues this thread by focusing on examples of narrative representations of cities. In relation to Germany and Berlin, Wim Wenders' film Per Himmel über Berlin, Walter Abish's novel How German Is It. Christa Wolf's Kindheitsmuster and Hugo Hamilton's Surrogate City are my main sources. I discuss London through Peter Ackroyd's novel Hawksmoor and Paris through examples of Patrick Modiano's writing. A fourth and more theoretical chapter outlines how Postmodern narrative represents history and problematises memory. Two images direct this discussion: the detective and the palimpsest. My sources rely on the model of urban inquests and portray the city as a space shaped by a lamination of traces from superimposed eras. Part III connects architecture and narrative through examples of recent developments in Postmodern museology, mainly the Holocaust Museum. They construe historical narratives by endowing building and contents with a communicative function. As a conclusion, I establish that Postmodern concerns with history focus on the importance of bearing witness to the past, however problematic its representation has become. As the city houses memory, it is a priviledged location for historical traces which define contemporary identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Architecture and literature ; Architecture ; Postmodern ; Europe