Architecture and Modern Literature

David Spurr
Exploring the related cultural forms of architecture and literature in the modern era


Architecture and Modern Literature explores the representation and interpretation of architectural space in modern literature from the early nineteenth century to the present, with the aim of showing how literary production and architectural construction are related as cultural forms in the historical context of modernity. In addressing this subject, it also examines the larger questions of the relation between literature and architecture and the extent to which these two arts define one another in the social and philosophical contexts of modernity. Architecture and Modern Literature will serve as a foundational introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary study of architecture and literature. David Spurr addresses a broad range of material, including literary, critical, and philosophical works in English, French, and German, and proposes a new historical and theoretical overview of this area, in which modern forms of "meaning" in architecture and literature are related to the discourses of being, dwelling, and homelessness.

"David Spurr has much to teach to architects and students of architecture in search of strategies to comprehend the complex role this discipline plays in contemporary life as it appears in examples from literature, which in my view is one of the best available vehicles to grasp the possibilities of a meaningful architecture in the contemporary world." 
—Alberto Pérez-Gómez, McGill University

"Architecture and Modern Literature is a superb book. The culture is impeccable, the combination of literary and architectural knowledge always lucid, its textual readings consistently strong and original. Its impact will be felt on modernist studies and it should be lasting."
—Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

Cover art: Walter Bibikow, Corbis Images

David Spurr is Professor of English at the Université de Genève, Switzerland.

Praise / Awards

  • "Expanding modernist literary theory, this title successfully pursues new approaches to the understanding of alienation, homelessness, industrial construction, junk, and hyperspace in European and North American modern and contemporary literature."

  • "This is undoubtedly a major contribution to the field of literary studies: Spurr demonstrates an impressive historical and theoretical breadth of knowledge without sacrificing very detailed close readings."
  • Winner, Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, 2013

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 300pp.
  • 11 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07171-5

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  • $69.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05171-7

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  • $29.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2017
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90080-0

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  • literature, architecture, theory, modernism, modernity, dwelling, space, Joyce, Proust, Gothic