Stefanie Strebel

Between Dream Houses and “God’s Own Junkyard”: Architecture and the Built Environment in American Suburban Fiction

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This study deals with the representation of architecture and the built environment in American suburban literature and film from the 1920s until present. It explores how the American suburb has developed into a place of non-architecture in both reality and fiction, focusing on topics such as architectural mass production, eclecticism and suburban sprawl.
The American suburb is a space dominated by architectural mass production, sprawl, as well as a monotonous aesthetic eclecticism, and many critics argue that it has developed from a postwar utopia into a disorienting environment with which it is difficult to identify. The typical suburb has come to display characteristics of an atopia, that is, a space without borders or even a non-place, a generic space of transience.
Dealing with the representation of architecture and the built environment in suburban literature and film from the 1920s until present, this study demonstrates that in its fictional representations, too, suburbia has largely turned into a place of non-architecture. A lack of architectural ethos and an abundance of “Junkspace” define suburban narratives, causing an increasing sense of disorientation and entropy in fictional characters.

The Rise and Fall of Suburbia: History, Popular Culture, and Architecture
1. Suburbia in the Roaring Twenties: Anti-Urban Biases and the Shaping of Suburban Identities
1.1. Moulding Suburban Identities Through the Built Environment, Interior Design and Commodities in Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt
1.2. Architectural Decadence between Rural Pasts and (Sub)Urban Futures: The Built Environment of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
2. From House in the Country to Box on a Slab: The Rampant Suburban Expansion After World War II
2.1. Eric Hodgins’ Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, or the Search for an Exurban Arcadia
2.2. “Little Boxes Made of Ticky-Tacky”: Architectural Mass Production in John Keats’ The Crack in the Picture Window
3. Suburbia After Levittown: Architectural Diversification and the Rise of the Gated Community
3.1. Contemporary Architecture and the Suburban Gothic in Anne Rivers Siddons’ The House Next Door
3.2. The Gated Community as a Suburban Fortress in T. Coraghessan Boyle’s The Tortilla Curtain
4. The Post-Suburban State: Sprawling Architectural Landscapes
4.1. Architectural and Social Patchworks: The Eclecticism of Suburban Sprawl in Todd Solondz’s Happiness
4.2. Suburban New Jersey as Junkspace in Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse
What Remains of the Suburban Dream

Dr. Stefanie Strebel arbeitet an der Universität Zürich im Bereich Open Science und Forschungsdatenmanagement.
Mehr Informationen
ISBN 978-3-7720-8751-6
EAN 9783772087516
Bibliographie 1. Auflage
Seiten 228
Format gebunden
Ausgabename 38751
Verlag A. Francke Verlag
Autor Stefanie Strebel
Erscheinungsdatum 28.06.2021
Lieferzeit 1-3 Tage