Is modernity being replaced by an opposite culture of postmodernity, or is postmodernism simply an internal critique of modernist culture? This key question is central to this stimulating book which explores the transformations taking place in social life, cultural preferences, economic organization and political attitudes, particularly in the context of the contemporary city as a lived or written experience. This book contains accounts of the development of modern ways of life and their erosion in the 20th century. The author argues that a whole set of modern institutions, from the corporation to the novel, are being exposed to internal critique and external competition. As a result, new ways of seeing and thinking are moving us into what some observers see as postmodern culture. However, these tendencies may in fact be the continuation of modernity by other means.