The Dark Flaneur

Arts so good!

My One Contribution To The Internet

Walter Benjamin has been on my mind since starting work in London. He was an essayist, that is to say proto-blogger, before WWII, and his ideas have gently permeated Western Thought ™. Amongst his many topics was the “Flaneur”, loosely, the city-wanderer (Baudelaire is also associated with this idea, but I read Benjamin). The idea is that there is a special kind of existential satisfaction from meandering through and around cities observing the ebb and flow of life. As a general concept, it is useful for exploring and explaining works of urban fiction. I tend to think of Oscar Wilde in the framework of Benjamin’s Flaneur. Tied up in this concept, of the Flaneur, is the notion that someone in that position has a wider and deeper understanding of the city and its people than those who travel through the city with purpose. If your object is to merely get…

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