Modernity as ambiguity in Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games

Authored by: Shari Daya

The Routledge Companion on Architecture, Literature and The City

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781472482730
eBook ISBN: 9781315613154
Adobe ISBN:


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The relationship between cities and modernity has been very well documented and explored in a wide range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. Not all cities are modern in every sense of the word, and modernity is certainly not found only in cities, yet such is the symbiosis between urbanism and the modern condition that at times it seems almost as if the city is simply the physical expression of modernity, or as if modernity is subsumed by urban space. As Gyan Prakash puts it:

If modernity is a Faustian bargain to unleash human potential and subdue nature to culture, then modern cities are its most forceful and enduring expressions. The breathless intensity and the awesome power of modern life have made and remade cities across the world… The great dramas of recent centuries… were enacted on the stage of modern cities… Modern urban life… has produced new subjects, solidarities, and meanings. The cityscape… has served as the setting for dynamic encounters and experiences. A great deal of modern literature, art, and cinema would be unthinkable without the modern city. In an important sense, cities are the principal landscapes of modernity. 1

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