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Restless Cities

Leading writers reimagine the city as a site of ceaseless change and motion.
The metropolis is a site of endless making and unmaking. From the attempt to imagine a ‘city-symphony’ to the cinematic tradition that runs from Walter Ruttmann to Terence Davies, Restless Cities traces the idiosyncratic character of the metropolitan city from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first-century megalopolis. With explorations of phenomena including nightwalking, urbicide, property, commuting and recycling, this wide-ranging new book identifies and traces the patterns that have defined everyday life in the modern city and its effect on us as individuals. Bringing together some of the most significant cultural writers of our time, Restless Cities is an illuminating, revelatory journey to the heart of our metropolitan world.
With contributions by Marshall Berman, Kasia Boddy, Iain Borden, Rachel Bowlby, Geoff Dyer, Patrick Keiller, Esther Leslie, Michael Newton, Chris Petit, Michael Sayeau, Michael Sheringham, Iain Sinclair, David Trotter, and Mark W. Turner

Reviews

  • “A culturally and historically rich illumination of the city in all its complexity.”
  • “A richly alternative guide to city living.”
  • “A gem of a book, by turns inspiring, shocking and consistently intelligent.”
  • “Bold and admirable.”
  • “Fresh and piquant observations about aspects of modern living.”

Blog

  • "A Situationist ethnography has its own distinct methods" - an extract from The Beach Beneath the Street

    The below is an extract from The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International by McKenzie Wark - currently 50% off on our website as part of our Political Guide to Walking.


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  • Immanuel Kant the, errrr, Walker?

    Immanuel ‘the Königsberg clock’ Kant was renowned for his strict (and rather austere) daily routines. Having been born in Königsberg in 1724, he never left the small German city, dying there in 1804 aged 79 never having once gone further than the city’s limits. Yet despite his somewhat limited empirical knowledge of the world, the intellectual founder of the German Enlightenment had a lifelong passion for knowledge of all kinds. He gained much of his insight  into the world outside of Königsberg from his walks through the docks where he would discuss philosophy, politics, science and travel with Scottish merchants and tradesmen.

    In the second of our extracts from A Philosophy of Walking, (the first one is here) Frederic Gros reflects upon the influence of walking for Kant’s life and thought. Following this, we have a short excerpt from a conversation between the great German playwright Heiner Müller and filmmaker, theorist and writer Alexander Kluge which shows that Kant’s daily life was perhaps a little less puritanical than often assumed, and that his passion for walking allowed him to indulge in more *ahem* exotic pursuits.

     

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  • "The Passion for Escape – Rimbaud" an extract from Frédéric Gros' A Philosophy of Walking

    As part of our week of walking we bring you an exclusive extract from Frédéric Gros' celebrated A Philosophy of Walking. Mixing fascinating vignettes on famous walkers (from Kant's regular-as-clockwork rambles about Königsberg to Neitzsche's mountain trails) and the author's own meditations on walking, A Philosophy of Walking is an entertaining and insightful manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other. Now out in paperback, this book features on our Guide to Political Walking - all the books featured are 50% off until Friday 1st May! 

    In this extract, Gros discusses Rimbaud's famous teenage treks across Paris and the influence work had on the great poet.



    I can’t give you an address to reply to this, for I don’t know personally where I may find myself dragged next, or by what routes, on the way to where, or why, or how!

    Arthur Rimbaud, Letter from Aden, 5 May 1884

    Verlaine called him ‘the man with soles of wind’. The man himself, when still very young, had described himself thus: ‘I’m a pedestrian, nothing more.’ Rimbaud walked throughout his life. 
Obstinately, with passion. Between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, he walked to reach great cities: the Paris of literary hopes, to become known in Parnassian circles, to meet poets like himself, desperately lonely and longing to be loved (read his poems). To Brussels, to pursue a career in journalism. Between twenty and twenty-four, he several times tried the route to the South, returning home for the winter. Preparation for travel ... There were incessant shuttles between Mediterranean ports (Marseille or Genoa) and Charleville; walking towards the sun. And from the age of twenty-five until his death, desert roads.

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Other books Edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart