Exquisite corpse: the Urban Gothic mindscape in China Miéville’s The Last Days of New Paris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This discussion juxtaposes Miéville’s novella The Last Days of New Paris (2016) with the Victorian poem ‘The City of Dreadful Night’ by James Thomson (1880). Exploring the psycho-geographic horror and the claustrophobia of cities, it argues that the Mieville’s text moves away from the nineteenth-century depiction of the ‘hidden horrors’ of the city to a space where ‘horrors are made deliberately visible’. Citing the contemporary city as a space of terror(ism), it suggests that the new Urban Gothic speaks to a very immanent sense of threat, battle and anxiety that are rooted in the sense of temporal and spatial dislocation. Bell explores how Miéville’s work marks a significant move away from anxieties that pervade the Urban Gothic tradition, and toward contemporary geographies of stress and fear over navigating political and environmental concerns in the age of the Anthropocene.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Urban Gothic: Global Gothic in the Age of the Anthropocene
EditorsRuth Heholt, Holly-Gale Millette
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030437770
ISBN (Print)9783030437794, 9783030437763
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2020

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic
ISSN (Print)2634-6214
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6222


  • Anxiety
  • China Miéville
  • Contemporary
  • Neo-Victorian
  • The Last Days of New Paris


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