Representations of Urban Space in Edith Wharton and Anzia Yezierska
1. Introduction - 17
1. Introduction New York simply meant peace and freedom to me: it was coming home.2 Almost everybody the world over has some claim on the city of New York. This, sadly, is even more so after the terrible events of 09/11 have forever engraved the collapsing Twin Towers in our collective memory. Our rather naïve hopes of an always better to- morrow, mirrored in the lofty designs of the city’s skyscrapers and the endless possibilities of a never sleeping city, were instantly shat- tered. But even such a traumatic, unimaginable event as that has shown us one thing: New York is still standing, it has not vanished from the map and has shown the world that it will endure. We all have some prior knowledge of New York City, we have acquired textual or visual images of it that may have been personally experienced or gained from another source. New York City, and more specifically Manhattan, is more than just a place; it often is what we imagine it to be, too. This cosmopolitan city sees itself with no modesty as the very center of the world and the innumerable representations of it in the arts attest to that. By lo- cating itself like this, New York City allows everyone the right to superficial access and understanding. But Manhattan’s layers and nuances are many. While knowledge can be gained by circumfe- rential acquaintance with just a few of its offerings, the richness of it all becomes evident only to...
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