Urban Space, Singularity and Networks in Laura Del-Rivo’s The Furnished Room (1961)

Nicolas Tredell 1
  • 1 University of Sussex & Palgrave Macmillan, , Great Britain

Abstract

This essay explores the representation of interior and exterior urban space in Laura Del-Rivo’s novel The Furnished Room (1961) through the lenses of singularity and networking, which are proposed as preferable alternatives to notions such as individuality and community, especially in the analysis of city life and literature. The essay examines portrayals of four kinds of urban space in the novel – the furnished room, the office, the café and the street – which seem to offer escapes from the perceived constrictions of the family home, the suburb and the Church. It analyses the novel’s sensory evocations of such urban spaces, especially through smell and sight. The essay also considers how the narrative conveys the enticements of the abstract and impersonal network of money. It relates these elements to its young male protagonist, an existentialist (anti-)hero who suffers from a recurrent sense of unreality and who seeks a more sustained version of the greater intensity glimpsed in epiphanies, privileged moments in which the world seems temporarily transfigured into a visionary space. The essay suggests that the novel respects but questions his quest by dramatizing his wrong choices and by ending with a view of urban space given over to women and children.

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