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Visualizing Dublin

Visual Culture, Modernity and the Representation of Urban Space


Edited By Justin Carville

Dublin has held an important place throughout Ireland’s cultural history. The shifting configurations of the city’s streetscapes have been marked by the ideological frameworks of imperialism, its architecture embedded within the cultural politics of the nation, and its monuments and sculptures mobilized to envision the economic ambitions of the state. This book examines the relationship of Dublin to Ireland’s social history through the city’s visual culture. Through specific case studies of Dublin’s streetscapes, architecture and sculpture and its depiction in literature, photography and cinema, the contributors discuss the significance of visual experiences and representations of the city to our understanding of Irish cultural life, both past and present.
Drawing together scholars from across the arts, humanities and social sciences, the collection addresses two emerging themes in Irish studies: the intersection of the city with cultural politics, and the role of the visual in projecting Irish cultural identity. The essays not only ask new questions of existing cultural histories but also identify previously unexplored visual representations of the city. The book’s interdisciplinary approach seeks to broaden established understandings of visual culture within Irish studies to incorporate not only visual artefacts, but also textual descriptions and ocular experiences that contribute to how we come to look at, see and experience both Dublin and Ireland.


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This book grew out of a series of conversations with colleagues on the increasing emergence over the last three decades of Dublin as a subject of analysis within the humanities and social sciences. Foremost amongst these discussions was that although many scholarly monographs on the cultural history of Dublin included illustrations of the architecture, monu- ments, street-views and sculpture of the city, few paid any attention to the aesthetics or signifying ef fects of the types of visual imagery reproduced in their pages, or of the images material codifications of Dublin as either an Imperial, colonial or post-colonial city. The book has thus developed out of the shared interest of the contributors in the relationship between the visual and the broader cultural history of the city; the connections between the aesthetics and politics of the image and the representation of Dublin through specific media in particular historical contexts. That these f ledgling conversations and shared interests have made it into print in the pages that follow is very much due to the belief, patience, professionalism and good-will of a select group of people. I am eternally grateful to the editor of the Reimagining Ireland series Eamon Maher for his enthusiasm and support of the project since its incep- tion and for agreeing to include the book alongside such an exciting collec- tion of Irish Studies scholarship. In the face of numerous delays and missed deadlines Commissioning Editor Christabel Scaife has been both patient and polite throughout the process of completing...

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