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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  February 2010  /  "All that is solid melts into air"? The transience of the ‘modern’ city

"All that is solid melts into air"? The transience of the ‘modern’ city

Richard Dennis’s Inaugural on 18th March discusses hopes and fears of 19th and early 20th Century city life

"All that is solid melts into air"? The transience of the ‘modern’ city

The title of Richard Dennis’s Inaugural Lecture as Professor of Human Geography will be No Abiding City: transience and transfiguration in 'modern' cities. In it, he will discuss the hopes and fears associated with the transience of cities, cityscapes and city people in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Marx famously declared that "All that is solid melts into air", while Baudelaire characterised modernity as "the transient, the fleeting, the contingent".  More apocalyptically-minded commentators pointed to, and anticipated, the transitory nature of entire cities and civilizations, while social statisticians charted the mobility of urban populations and its consequences. Professor Dennis's lecture, drawing on more than twenty years of research on the theme of cities and modernity, will range from London to Winnipeg (a city blessed with more than its fair share of visionaries) and from the fragile inferences of censuses and surveys to the fictional certainties of George Gissing and Wyndham Lewis.

The Lecture will be given on Thursday 18 March at 17.30, in the Christopher Ingold Lecture Theatre, 20 Gordon Street, WC1H 0AJ.

Contact: Charlotte Jones, 020 7679 1346,  c.l.jones@ucl.ac.uk


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