Excavating London’s St Giles as Imaginative Place: Towards a dialogic relationship between literary studies and the urban humanities

Abstract

This article analyses the territory of St Giles, a neighbourhood today in central London. It applies Deep Locational Criticism (Finch 2016), a scholarly practice insisting on the interpretative application of multiple methodologies to what it labels as imaginative place conceptions. In London, St Giles is already known for its squalid past. But London’s localisms and often unique vocabularies can prove hard to relate to developments elsewhere. For workers in literary studies and the urban humanities alike, places like St Giles are revealing of moments when cities explode in size, when mass urbanization happens very fast, with local government and infrastructures struggling to catch up.

Keywords London, St Giles, urban humanities, place, Deep Locational Criticism

Jason Finch

PhD, Assistant Professor, English Literature, Åbo Akademi University.