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Robert Bond and Jenny Bavidge

Following on from the success of the first international conference on the work of Iain Sinclair in June 2004, and publication earlier this year of a landmark study of his work, Robert Bond’s Iain Sinclair (Cambridge: Salt), as the editors of this first Special Issue of the Literary London Journal we are delighted to offer this ground-breaking gathering of critical essays on Sinclair. This collection of articles anticipates an imminent flurry of major critical responses to Sinclair’s writing and film-making: 2006 will see publication of the critical anthology City Visions: The Work of Iain Sinclair, as well as the appearance of full-length studies from both Brian Baker (for MUP) and Robert Sheppard (for Writers and their Work).

The dedication of this first Literary London Journal Special Issue to Sinclair’s work represents a natural development of his own early support for the Literary London Conference. Many readers will remember Sinclair’s inaugural keynote address at the first Conference, when he fascinatingly compared his own urban conditions of production to those of Wyndham Lewis, another hitherto-neglected London modernist. Several papers have been devoted to Sinclair’s work; indeed, he is one of the few writers to have been accorded his own panel at the Conference. It is our opinion that Sinclair’s novels, films and poetry have provided us with some of the most politicized, technically sophisticated and intellectually stimulating recent accounts of London. Of course, it could be argued, it is precisely the extraordinarily complexity, wide range, and Blakean intensity of Sinclair’s vision of the city which — up until now — has impeded its recognition amongst a wide readership. We are pleased, therefore, to be able to offer here an equivalently broad variety of critical responses to Sinclair’s work, ranging from the Ruth Silver’s more freeform psychogeographical approach, exploring the influence of Sinclair’s writing on her practice as an architect, to the Adorno-inflected Marxist perspectives of Ben Watson (on Downriver) and Robert Bond (on The Kodak Mantra Diaries and Landor’s Tower). Christopher Gregory-Guider invents the category of the autobiogeographical to describe the workings of Rodinsky’s Room, while Julian Wolfreys reads for the chorographical in Sinclair’s texts. Alex Murray argues for the centrality of the anti-Thatcherite impulse of White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, and Paul Newland raises questions around Sinclair’s ‘occupation’ of the contested territory of the East End. From different perspectives, Kirsten Seale and Joe Moshenska address perhaps the best-known aspect of Sinclair’s work, the crucial relationship between the work and the walk. We’re particularly pleased that Sinclair’s own voice is here too, via an interview with Colette Meacher, arguing that the city can still produce art and everyday experience capable of ‘burning a hole in the membrane of the ordinary.’

To Cite This Article:

Robert Bond and Jenny Bavidge, ‘Editorial Introduction’. Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London, Volume 3 Number 2 (September 2005). Online at Accessed on [date of access]