Stranger Cities: Australian Creation and the Ambidextrous Mind, a Profile of Portal Modernity


Stranger Cities explores the metaphysics of Australian society and the clash between its competing strands of romantic culture and classic civilization. The social expression, artistic resonance, economic significance, civic character, historic phases, mythic representations, creative antinomies, and imaginative contribution of these metaphysical fundamentals form the background of Australia’s distinctive urban civilization with its bustling stranger populations, ocean-facing portal cities, revealing art and architecture, and cyclical worlds of markets and industries, war and peace. Murphy portrays a classic eudemonic society whose dominant ethos of phlegmatic happiness vies with a subsidiary current of melancholic and choleric romanticism.

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Peter Murphy is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University and James Cook University, Australia. His books include Science Fiction and Narrative Form (2023), The Political Economy of Prosperity: Successful Societies and Productive Cultures (2020), Limited Government: The Public Sector in the Auto-Industrial Age (2019), The Collective Imagination: The Creative Spirit of Free Societies (2012), Dialectic of Romanticism: A Critique of Modernism (2004) and Civic Justice: From Classical Antiquity to the Modern World (2001).
List of Figures and Tables

Introduction: A Placid Society

1 Quantum Creation
 1 Quantum Creation
 2 Topological Imagination
 3 Doubling
 4 Color Music

2 Four Temperaments
 1 A Relaxed Steeliness
 2 Do Not Forget to Laugh
 3 Classic and Romantic
 4 The Four Temperaments
 5 Grandiosity versus Limits

3 Creation Australis
 1 The Australian Creation
 2 A Modern Odysseus
 3 Value, Shape and Beauty
 4 Utility and Ornament
 5 A Society of Cities

4 Australian Imaginaries
 1 Ways of Seeing
 2 The Beautiful and the Sublime
 3 Antinomies
 4 Introvert and Extrovert

5 Realists and Romantics
 1 Political Romanticism
 2 Cycles of Romance and Reality
 3 History, Authenticity, Nature
 4 Anti-politics
 5 Movements and Moralists
 6 From History to Geometry

6 Portal Metaphysics
 1 Entry and Exit
 2 Ancients and Moderns
 3 Creating Worlds
 4 Metaphysics of Creation
 5 Truth, Truths and Ambidexterity
 6 Where Is the Homeless Mind at Home?
 7 Steel and Glass
 8 Enigmatic Shadows

7 Stranger Architectonics
 1 The Portal City
 2 Strangers and Citizens
 3 Cities, Nations and Empires
 4 Structures and Proportions
 5 True Lies
 6 Nature and Convention

8 Epic Mythistory
 1 Gallipoli
 2 Epic Mythistory
 3 Atrocity in Modernity
 4 Enigma and Fortune
 5 Character and Ideology
 6 What Kind of People?

9 Modern Sacreds
 1 Secular and Sacred
 2 Cultural Modernization
 3 The Envy of Creation
 4 Portals and Paradoxes
 5 Liquid Stone

For faculty and graduate students (and undergraduate honours students) working in the fields of Australian society, thought and culture, and the global fields of social theory, urbanism, and architectural, visual, and maritime sociology.
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