The Flaneur Abroad: Historical and International Perspectives
This volume offers new perspectives on a crucial figure of nineteenth-century cultural history - the flaneur. Recent writing on the flaneur has given little sustained attention to the widespread adaptation of the flaneur outside Paris, let alone outside France and indeed Europe, whether in the form of historic antecedents, modern sequels, or contemporary echoes. Yet it is clear that the allure of the flaneur's persona has led to its translation and adoption far beyond Parisian boulevards and passages, and this in different media and literary genres. This volume maps some of the flaneur's travels and transpositions. How far the flaneur is dependent on Paris as a milieu is opened up for questioning: for all the international dispersal of this idea and model, in some sense Paris is always present, if only as a reference to kick against or replace. When modern flaneurs step out in foreign cities, how much of a Parisian ethos clings to them, however they might claim independence? Cities which provide counterpoints to Paris discussed here are Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Le Havre, London, Madrid, New York, Prague, and St Petersburg. This internationalised view also reconsiders the nature of the flaneur, and revises stereotypes based on Walter Benjamin's account of Baudelaire. Another key feature is the chapters which analyse the flaneur in terms of visual representations, whether graphic illustration, streetscapes, urban design, cinema, or album covers (related to musical examples from the 1950s to the present).