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184Philosophy and Literature that the critics using the term are separated, not joined, by a common vocabulary, since the various uses are informed by disparate principles or assumptions, and that her positive case for intentionality would be more effective had she confronted die strong objections to it offered by the poststructuralists. Still, most readers, and all fair ones, will recognize the importance of Mette Hjort's intellectual achievement in The Strategy ofLetters. Ohio State UniversityJames L. Battersby Expositions: Literature and Architecture in Nineteenth-Century France, by Philippe Hamon; translated by Katia SainsonFrank and Lisa Maguire; xv & 218 pp. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993, $30.00. In his new book, leading literary critic Philippe Hamon departs from structuralist semiology, characteristic ofprevious studies, to locate and explore the semantic spaces created in nineteenth-century Paris by the intersection of literature and architecture. Architecture, the arche or origination of all arts, Hamon argues from Hegel's model, was crucial to writers of the realist novel who wanted to persuade tiieir readers of its proximity to reality. Architectural figures did not simply invade literature as houses, factories, shop windows, mirrors, trapdoors, or balconies, etc., but radier, Hamon suggests, architecture's sheer presence forced literature to define its structure as a tfieoretical discourse and fiction. A metalanguage for literature, architecture has three principle modes of inhabiting a text. First, it functions hermeneutically as a hidden interior space that elicits strategies for obtaining information and truth. Second, as a discriminating object, architecture is the proximity, interface , or distance that classifies and separates desires, interests, and experiences. Finally as a system of constraints, architecture is the manifestation of prohibitions and repression. These modes, Hamon suggests, reveal the unexplored and indescribable thresholds of representation. Hamon's closely argued introduction is sensitive to the textuality of architecture , warning that "it is far from certain that the architectural object produces meaning directly or has a syntax." In the subsequent five chapters, however, Hamon is less cautious and discerning. He institutes a system of homologies to link architecture to literature that allows him to plaster over the tangled relation between architecture and engineering, decorate the text with cliché references to travel, tourism, painting, and flatness, and occasionally whitewash historical facts. Furthermore, the topography of Hamon's journey is not only the "plastic and transposable" terrain marked by architecture and literature's Reviews185 mutual fascination. As he strolls, tours, rambles, and wanders through ruins, books, arcades, and World's Fairs, Hamon's guide is Walter Benjamin. An elaborate critique of the highly ritualized practice of collective dreaming in capitalist society, Benjamin's unfinished Arcades project surrenders its images and arguments to Hamon as easy commodities. Hamon modulates the term exposition, identifies modes oftransparency as euphoric and melancholic, and isolates die ruin as the metaphor for all of modern life's false surfaces, surfeit details, and platitudes to lament, with Benjamin, die defeat of imagination, value, character, volume, and dimension in urban experience by the hyperbole of visual stimulation and banal consumerism. There are small breaks in Hamon's analysis that detach the intersection of site, city, and citation from Benjamin. The "Book as Exposition" and "Lyric and Exposition" essays promise to challenge the tyranny of the gaze and obstruct the proxemic of lived and read spaces. By first considering the space engendered by information, itemization, and lists and later by reflecting upon Baudelaire's efforts to eradicate the gaze through the vaporization of the self, Hamon contemplates spaces of excess that exceed the milieu of the city. Regrettably, he fails to consider how these spaces were inhabited. Contemporary debates over the future ofurban space rage in town meetings and political action groups. Public art projects and "unalienated" exhibitions try to break the cycle of decay, abandonment, and reappropriation in our cities by seeking new techniques and models for public space that put people back into that environment. Yet, Hamon created spaces of affect. It is imperative to return to nineteenth-century Paris and revisit our assumptions of public and private space, to go beyond behaviorist models in social and textual practice, and to recover from the nostalgia that casts the street as the ruthless host of desire, the flâneur as the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 184-185
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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