Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-03-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Isolarion takes its title from a type of fifteenth-century map that isolates an area in order to present it in detail, and that's just what James Attlee does here for Cowley Road in Oxford. The former site of a leper hospital, a workhouse, and a medieval well said to have miraculous healing powers, Cowley Road has little to do with the dreaming spires of the tourist's or student's Oxford. From a sojourn in a sensory-deprivation tank to a furtive visit to an unmarked pornography emporium, the sharp-eyed Attlee investigates every aspect of the Cowley Road's appealingly eclectic culture, where halal shops jostle with craft jewelers and nightclubs pulsate alongside quiet churchyards. Drawing inspiration from sources ranging from Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy to contemporary art, Attlee is a charming and congenial guide who revels in the extraordinary embedded in the everyday. Isolarion is at once a road movie, a quixotic stand against uniformity, and a rousing hymn in praise of the complex, invigorating nature of the twenty-first-century city. "Attlee paints an iridescent picture of a new Oxford that no guide book has yet captured."Richard B. Woodward,New York Times "A gem. . . . James Attlee's scholarly, reflective and sympathetic journey up the Cowley Road . . . blends a vivid account of daily life, fluid and unsettling, in a modern British town with powerful allegorical reflections on the connections between past and present, time and space, and high culture and the hard scrabble world that sustains it."Economist "The attraction, for Attlee, is that the Cowley Road 'is both unique and nothing special'; the resulting book is unique and very special. . . . Residents of East Oxford can be proud to have this eccentric advocate and eloquent explorer in their midst."Geoff Dyer,Guardian

Author Biography

James Attlee works in art publishing in London and is the coauthor of Gordon Matta-Clark: The Space Between.

Table of Contents

Purification Of Music and Cannibalism
Doing My Part
The Melancholy Pilgrim Bread and Circuses
Boucherie Chatar
Designated Desire-Lines: Planning a New Road
Further Purification of the Pilgrim
Enrobed Of Love and Jewels
Behind the Blue Door (Inside the Private Shop)
From the Literal to the Allegorical and Back
Wittgenstein’s Lion and a Cappuccino Sea
Virtual Streets and Gateways: The Plans Revisited
Cosmonauts and Coleslaw St. Edmund’s Well and a Faded Warning
Making Do and Getting By Egyptian Vagabonds, Afternoon Men, and theMalus
Geniusof Our Nation
Losing the Key Bed-Sits andBirardari
What They Think You Can Bear: Football, Religion, and Nightmares on the Cowley Road
Between Two Fires: Pulling the Dragon’s Teeth
Melancholy, an American Photographer, and the Irish Writer
Cowley Road Calling Just
Less Lucky
Dreadlocks and Rim-Shots: Reggae at the Zodiac Of Lepers, Lunatics, and Layabouts
Dancing Sand andZum-ZumWater
Junior Jihad Of Books and Bitumen Carnival Returning to the Source
A Journey in the Hinterland
Into the Furnace
Blessings and Tribulation
A Graveyard Reborn
Finding a Clue Of Bats and Mutton Curry
Margaret’s Story
A Hidden Pool
The Liquid Kingdom
The Gateways Close Of Robots, Wild Rhubarb, and the New Oxford Way
Things Fall Apart: An Ending of Sorts
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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