Shanghai’s changing faces and transforming cultures have been delineated within the cultural-linguistic context of the city since 1870s, be they verses on newspapers and magazines, or city travel guides and pictorials, which were Shanghai publishers’ best-sellers after 1884. Meanwhile, “Urban imaginations” bearing rich meanings and also ambivalence, had been constructed in Shanghai’s literary and artistic coterie between 1850s and 1890s. It is noteworthy that lamps and glass, the “civilized elements” making visual revolutions in modern cities, had recurrently become metaphors of urban “modernity” and attributes to erotic narratives in late-Qing Shanghai, as evidenced by a series of fictions in 1890s, heralded by Sing Song Girls of Shanghai, thus proving Shanghai’s maturity and transformation in urban narratives. Further, looking into the cultural-linguistic context in late-Qing Shanghai from an Oriental-Occidental comparative view, we shall discover that, the formation of urban imaginations and civil consciousness in the socio-cultural matrix then was based on how the self and the extraterritorial/other cultures were mutually defined. Therefore, we can explore into dialogues,acceptations and declinations in the binary of globalization and localization, those complex issues in the 19th-century Shanghai Studies, as well as Shanghai’s paradoxical process of cultural innovations.