The book titled New York, Capital of the 20th Century, by Kenneth Goldsmith, is a beautiful homage to New York City.
Read the press release by the publishing company Verso Books.
Here is a kaleidoscopic assemblage and poetic history of New York: an unparalleled and original homage to the city, composed entirely of quotations. Drawn from a huge array of sources—histories, memoirs, newspaper articles, novels, government documents, emails—and organized into interpretive categories that reveal the philosophical architecture of the city, Capital is the ne plus ultra of books on the ultimate megalopolis.
It is also a book of experimental literature that transposes Walter Benjamin’s unfinished magnum opus of literary montage on the modern city, The Arcades Project, from nineteenth-century Paris to twentieth-century New York, bringing the streets and its inhabitants to life in categories such as “Sex,” “Central Park,” “Commodity,” “Loneliness,” “Gentrification,” “Advertising,” and “Mapplethorpe.”
Capital is a book designed to fascinate and to fail—for can a megalopolis truly ever be captured in words? Can a history, no matter how extensive, ever be comprehensive? Each reading of this book, and of New York, is a unique and impossible project.
Praise for New York, Capital of the 20th Century
“Capital scintillates…Goldsmith has produced a book that reminds us how close we can still get, via the labor of sound and thought and syntax, to the rhythms of a real city.” – Guardian
“A skyscraper of words—literary, journalistic, poetic, and prosaic—to celebrate and chronicle teeming Gotham. The title alludes to Walter Benjamin, and the conceit is one to do him proud … there is an embarrassment of riches here.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“The infinite richness of the city is an apt form for [Goldsmith’s] ambition. Capital is a book to get lost in for hours, like some obscure corner of the Lower East Side; it helps us see the universe in a chunk of asphalt.”
– Financial Times
“The spirit of a city constantly wrestled with and romanticized all out of proportion suffuses Capital.” – Wall Street Journal
“[Be] astounded by this epic, ten-year effort to shape an impossible portrait of a miraculous city which—as EB White puts it—should never have existed.”
– Art Monthly
“The book is much like the city it describes: once you start exploring, you won’t want to stop.” – Spectrum Culture