Masters Thesis

Cities and their limits: a historical inquiry and the question of city limits today.

In his poem, W. H. Auden characterizes the social order of today's "Cities Without Walls." Without walls, the cityl is filled with Nothing. Nothing is "the Unbounded / beyond the Pale," and the "unpoliced spaces / where dragons dwelt and demons roamed." In a walled city, Nothing is kept at bay and social order is possible. But in the city today which is without bounds, Nothing is "in the foreground." Instead of a vital culture, there are routine, cheap thrills, unreason, and violence. These are the crude and desperate efforts of the nobodies of urban society to go on living without walls and in the face of Nothing.

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