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London's Underground SpacesRepresenting the Victorian City, 1840-1915$
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Haewon Hwang

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676071

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676071.001.0001

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Tubing It: Speeding through Modernity in the London Underground

Tubing It: Speeding through Modernity in the London Underground

(p.72) Chapter 2 Tubing It: Speeding through Modernity in the London Underground
London's Underground Spaces

Haewon Hwang

Edinburgh University Press

The second chapter on the underground railroad builds on the theme of repulsion and attraction encountered in the sewers but highlights the ways in which the subterranean space was eventually assimilated into the rhythms of everyday life. The ease and affordability of riding the underground train is contrasted with the spectre of disaster, while the compression of time and space eventually led to a democratisation of movement in the metropolis. In fiction, the underground railway, for the most part, remained as fleeting snapshots of encounters and transgressions, as the carriage offered both a public and private space for negotiations. The chapter argues that in the late nineteenth century, the underground railway did not receive direct treatment, but appeared as Derridean traces haunting the lives of urban dwellers, especially women, as they began to explore the city through this new medium. The selection of texts traces this trajectory from the underground railway as an object of technological terror to a modernist vision of speed and efficiency.

Keywords:   Underground railway, Modernism, Space and time, George Gissing, Emma Orczy, Derrida, Tube, Speed

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