Vol. 3 No. 2 (2023): Space

Historic(al) New York as Fictional Object

Alexandru Oravițan
West University of Timișoara

Published 2024-01-24


  • American Literature,
  • fictional object,
  • historical fiction,
  • literary representation,
  • New York

How to Cite

Historic(al) New York as Fictional Object. (2024). Papers in Arts and Humanities, 3(2), 48-58. https://doi.org/10.52885/pah.v3i2.142


This paper aims to investigate the portrayal of New York City in prominent American literary works, ranging from Washington Irving’s (1809) A History of New York to contemporary post-9/11 novels through an analysis of how evolving depictions of the city have been transformed into potent and revealing fictional objects that enrich the literary works into which they have been integrated. By employing the classification of fictional objects into native, immigrant, and surrogate set forth by Terrence Parsons (1980) in his landmark work Nonexistent Objects, this applied study on New York posits that, within the larger literary framework of the novels under discussion, cities construed as fictional objects manage to stimulate an active reading of the text and prompt diverse interpretations of their broader cultural significance. Essentially, this paper illustrates how the historical identity of New York City has been continually reimagined in American literature and how these imaginative representations continue to influence our contemporary popular perception of the city.


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