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11-29 lecture Gaiman - We left off last time talking about...

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We left off last time talking about the relation between the two Londons of Neverwhere : how London Below is made up of those people and things that “fall through the cracks” in the world above. As I said last time, Gaiman’s designed for us a world where the condition of being ignored, thrown away, or rejected as “not one of us” is taken and literalized: the literalized condition of what we can call abjection , or being cast-off. [The way we’ve seen happen to various groups in literature over the course of the semester—the rural poor flung off their land, the “savage” inhabitants of the East End, the various racial “others,” the “sheep” that the Nazis don’t mind sweeping away—all here summed up in the symbolic figures of the homeless, the people that people like Jessica step over on the street. Think of how often the idea of debris and detritus is invoked in relation to the underside: --as we talked about last time, the recognition of “vermin” as respected, even revered fellow-citizens --in Earl’s Court (the subway train throne room) the Earl’s library is a kind of trash heap of “things lost, things forgotten” (162) --in the two scenes in the Floating Market, we see people selling --“Lost Property. None of your found things here. Everything guaranteed properly lost.” --“Rubbish! . . . Junk! . . . Garbage! Trash! Offal! Debris! Come and get it! Nothing whole or undamaged. Crap, trip, and useless piles of shit. You know you want it.” (110) --the Sewer people selling what they have fished up
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from the underground waterways—including the corpse of the Marquis There are three important points that we can take from this pattern, this dwelling on garbage —each of which is both an aspect of the
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