The representation of space: Prose and maps about the London Underground

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Ulrike Miske
49 g
236x156x25 mm

Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,7, University of Paderborn, course: Narratives of London, 12 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Some people say you can only experience London as you walk it. Others say that ridingthe London Tube gives you the real picture of the city as you receive different
Indeed, the world's oldest and largest underground, is one of the city's most prominent
and prototypical features. For more than 140 years, a diverse range of people such as
tourists, visitors, provincials and commuters have travelled the metropolis by
underground. Yet all of them for the same reason: to get from one place to the other.
From the opening of the first line in 1868, the London Underground also attracted the
attention of many writers who depicted this means of transportation in their works. In
fact, the London Underground still fascinates many contemporary authors such as Doris
Lessing and Charlie Higson.
Reading Lessing's In Defence of the Underground or Higson's The Red Line you are
taken along on a journey below the city, exploring the metropolis. While the story's
characters travel through London they organize space. When riding one of the
underground lines, certain places and linked together. As the story continues, the
narrative structures unfold to be spatial syntaxes that take the reader along on a tour
through the metropolis.
In this paper I will argue to what degree texts about the London Tube as well as the
London Underground maps can be considered a way of organizing the space of London.
First of all, I want to give a short introduction on spatial theory and a definition of the
concept of spatial stories. Afterwards, I will apply my findings on spatial stories to the
London Underground texts In Defence of the Underground and The Red Line.
Moreover, I will discuss the different representation of London within the two texts.
Finally, I want to examine to what degree London Underground maps can be considered
a way of organizing the space of the city.