Spectral returns of domesticity
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
27 - 45
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This is a study of the link between the house and the city, based on a close reading of three historical statements from Western urban theory by Leone Batisti Alberti, Le Corbusier, and Paul Virilio. Sexualized metaphors of the house as the feminine, private realm and the city as the masculine, public realm proliferate in the modern period. However, rather than conforming to this conventional opposition, these three authors define the city in terms of the house. Their statements provide a curious link across temporal and geographical boundaries, with significant theoretical implications. In all three cases both the feminine figure and themes of loss and death underlie the desire to project the ideal city. In this paper I argue that these themes intertwine in complicated ways to assert urban identification in terms of a masculine desire of total control and mastery by silencing the feminine figure.