Midnight in the Anglo-American Metropolis: The Commonalities of Interpreting Urban Space, Envisioning Ruins and Visualizing Landscapes in the Tradition of Samuel Johnson and James Howard Kunstler

By:
Dr. Ronald J. Tulley
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In Samuel Johnson's A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and in selected excerpts from James Boswell’s Life of Johnson lie the seed of ideas that would later be adopted by the late twentieth-century “moralist,” James Howard Kunstler. In his books, The Geography of Nowhere, Home from Nowhere, and The City in Mind, Kunstler, a popular American social critic, echoes many of Samuel Johnson’s observations. Although Johnson loved London and Kunstler idealizes the American small town (specifically, Saratoga Springs, New York), they both understand the promise of the city in its historical context as a “marketplace for ideas and cultural values as well as material goods” (Kunstler, Nowhere 189). I contend that in the works of both Johnson and Kunstler there resides a similar thread of conviction—a moral certitude that insists that our culture may be defined not by what we build, but by what we abandon.


Keywords: Urban Spaces, Samuel Johnson, Urban Planning
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Aesthetics, Design, History, Historiography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Midnight in the Anglo-American Metropolis


Dr. Ronald J. Tulley

Assistant Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts,
Department of English, The University of Findlay

Findlay, Ohio, USA

An Assistant Professor of English at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, Ron Tulley teaches The Rhetoric of Urban Spaces, Writing about Cities, Technical Communication, Visual Rhetoric, E-Rhetoric, E-Poetics, Introduction to Style, Project Management and Advanced Topics in Technical Communication, and Advanced Web-Design: Online Help and Usability Testing as well as traditional composition and literature classes. In addition to teaching at The University of Findlay, he has taught at eight other universities and colleges, including Bowling Green State University and Case Western Reserve University (where he is currently finishing his dissertation). His dissertation research focuses on the autobiography in cyberspace. He is particularly interested in how the autobiography is affected by its rhetorical situation, or in the Greek, Kairos. Additionally, his research examines how weblogged autobiographies have evolved from what was once a limited "conversation" between the author and her audience, a.k.a., what the Greeks referred to as Dialektos or dialectic, and have expanded to include exchanges that may eventually become a part of the “original” autobiography through hyperlinking, downloading, etc. Professor Tulley has earned degrees in English, History, Business, Technical Communication and Education from The University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, and Bowling Green State University.

Ref: H06P0599