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This study represents the first comprehensive study of Iain Sinclair’s writing, covering his key texts from the early 1970s to the present. It features individual chapters analyzing Lud Heat, White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings, Downriver and London Orbital. In exploring Sinclair’s unique vision of London, this study aims to define his writing as the culmination of a trajectory of London writing that stretches from Blake and Dickens, up to more contemporary writers such as Alexander Baron and Peter Ackroyd. The book suggests that the writing of the city is preoccupied by the relation between capitalism and religion, and hence by the question of domination. It emphasizes the mythic quality of contemporary urban life. The book therefore aims to extend the critique of urban experience formulated in the work of Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer.
The book’s cultural Marxist perspective is supplemented by a sociology of culture derived from the work of Pierre Bourdieu. The author aims to explain why Iain Sinclair has become the sole serious contemporary poet to have broken from the avant garde into a popular, more commercial status. What can we learn from a writer who is at once a rare neo-modernist and the focus of a metropolitan literary cult? Why are other major poets still unrecognized outside academia? This study explores Iain Sinclair’s relation to the ‘Cambridge school’ of neo-modernist poetry, and reconstructs the twentieth century poetic genealogies upon which Sinclair's writing has drawn.
‘Bond’s take on Sinclair is relentless and completely engrossing. It has intellectual drive, theoretical acuity and immersive vigilance. This is precisely the kind of politically adroit reading that Sinclair's writing is intended to produce.’ —Rod Mengham
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