This book brings together geographers and literary scholars in a series of engagements near the boundaries of their disciplines. In urban studies, disproportionate attention has been given to a small set of privileged 'first' cities. This volume problematizes the dominance of such alpha cities, offering a wide perspective on 'second cities' and their literature. The volume is divided into three themed sections. 'In the Shadow of the Alpha City' problematizes the image of cities defined by their function and size, bringing out the contradictions and contestations inherent in cultural productions of second cities, including Birmingham and Bristol in the UK, Las Vegas in the USA, and Tartu in Estonia. 'Frontier Second Cities' pays attention to the multiple and trans-national pasts of second cities which occupy border zones, with a focus on Narva, in Estonia, and Turkish/Kurdish Diyarbakir. The final section, 'The Diffuse Second City', examines networks the diffuse secondary city made up of interlinked small cities, suburban sprawl and urban overspill, with literary case studies from Italy, Sweden, and Finland.
Jason Finch is Assistant Professor in English Language and Literature at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Previously published works include Deep Locational Criticism: Imaginative Place in Literary Research and Teaching and E.M. Forster and English Place: A Literary Topography.
Lieven Ameel is Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Tampere, Finland. Previously published works include Helsinki in Early Twentieth-Century Literature: Urban Experiences in Finnish Prose Fiction 1890-1940, and Language, Space and Power: Urban Entanglements (ed.).
Markku Salmela is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Tampere, Finland. Previously published works include Paul Auster's Spatial Imagination and The Grotesque and the Unnatural (ed.).