An extraordinary study of the politics of representation, this book explores the discursive construction of a `city of intensities`. The author analyses representations of Calcutta in a wide variety of discourses: in the gossip and travellor-lore of backpackers and volunteer charity workers; in writing - from classic literature to travel guides; in cinema, photography and maps. The book shows how the rumours of westerners contribute to the elaboration of an imaginary city; and in doing so, circulate in ways fundamental to the maintenance of international order. A provocative and original reading of both Heidegger and Marx, the book also draws upon writers as diverse as Spivak, Trinh, Jameson, Clifford, Virilio, Bataille, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari. As such it is essential reading for students and scholars in cultural studies, anthropology, development and sociology.