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Routes and RealmsThe Power of Place in the Early Islamic World$
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Zayde Antrim

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199913879

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199913879.001.0001

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The Image of the City

The Image of the City

(p.61) 3 The Image of the City
Routes and Realms

Zayde Antrim

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the textual strategy of describing the urban built environment. By engaging the visual imagination, this strategy stimulated the recognition of a “cityscape” distinctive from other landscapes in the discourse of place. Describing or depicting the built environment was intended to make cities legible, or comprehensible in terms of their written or graphic representation, and thus to make them compelling as categories of belonging for people whether or not they had firsthand experience of the city. Central to a city’s legibility was often the evocation of a monumental structure, one that dominated the cityscape because of its great size, lavish adornment, powerful patrons, or ritual function. This chapter considers contrasting claims to “insider” and “citational” authority in describing urban built environments and analyzes a variety of texts, including images and poems.

Keywords:   city, cityscape, built environment, monumental, legibility, insider, citational, texts, images, poems

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