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Acknowledgments Introduction 1. When travelers swarm forth: antebellum urban aesthetics and the contours of the political 2. In 'the thick of the stream': Henry James and the public sphere 3. A 'gorgeous neutrality': social justice and Stephen Crane's documentary anaesthetics 4. Vicious gregariousness: white city, the nation form, and the souls of lynched folk 5. A 'moving mosaic': Harlem, primitivism, and Nella Larsen's Quicksand 6. Breaking the waves: mass immigration, trauma, and ethno-political consciousness in Cahan, Yezierska, and Roth Bibliography.