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Flâneuse Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London

ISBN: 9780374156046 | 0374156042
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: 2/21/2017

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An exhilarating, gender-bending walk through the lives of women who are enlivened by cities

A flâneuse is, in Lauren Elkin’s words, “a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk.” Virginia Woolf called it “streethaunting,” Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Patti Smith did it in her own inimitable style in 1960s New York.

Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between singular women and their cities as a way to map her own life—a journey that begins in New York and takes us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo, and London—including the paths beaten by such flâneuses as the cross-dressing, nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the journalist Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys. With tenacity and insight, Elkin creates a mosaic of what urban settings have meant to women, charting through literature, art, history, and film women’s sometimes liberating, sometimes fraught relationship to the metropolis.



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