Urban Walking –The Flâneur as an Icon of Metropolitan Culture in Literature and Film

Oliver Bock, Isabel Vila-Cabanes (Eds.)

by Knut Brynhildsvoll (University of Oslo, Norway), Ana Paula Cardozo de Souza (Leiden University, The Netherlands), Cristina Carluccio (University of Salento, Italy), Daniel Chukwuemeka (University of Bristol; Macquarie University), Lea Herrmann (ENS Lyon, France), Berit Hummel (TU Berlin, Germany), Viorella Manolache (Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania), Eva Katharina Ries (Universität Augsburg, Germany), Cecile Sandten (TU Chemnitz, Germany), Ina Schabert (University of Munich, Germany), Isabel Vila-Cabanes (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany ), Farida Youssef (University College London)

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" [...] the range of the contributions also suggests that the flâneur continues to inspire robust research in many disciplines within the humanities. The conference volume thus contributes to the further diversification of flâneurial scholarship. It simultaneously gestures towards the still unfinished expansion of the figure beyond the centers of Western urbanity and into post-classical forms: such alternative iterations of the flâneur may, for instance, diverge from their predecessor's long-criticized status as a white, middle class, masculine subject of leisure in terms of their gendering, racialization, or class affiliation."

[Extracted from the review on the book appearing at the journal 'Anglistik' 31:3 (2020), Universitätsverlag WINTER Heidelberg. Reviewer: Chris Katzenberg (Universität Bochum, Germany)]

" [...] Flânerie is a concept and a creative practice that this volume does well to recognize and explore. [...]"

[Extracted from the review on the book appearing at the journal 'Modern Language Review'. Volume 116, Part 1. January 2021. Reviewer: Rob Stone (University of Birmingham)]

The volume assembles fresh treatments on the flâneur in literature, film and culture from a variety of angles. Its individual contributions cover established as well as previously unnoticed textual and filmic source materials in a historical perspective ranging from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. The range of topics covered demonstrates the ongoing productivity of flânerie as a viable paradigm for the artistic approach to urban culture and the continuing suitability of flânerie as an analytic category for the scholarly examination of urban representation in the arts. This productiveness also extends to the questioning, re-evaluation, and enhancement of flânerie’s theoretical foundations as they were laid down by Walter Benjamin and others. The work will be particularly relevant for students and scholars of literary studies, film studies and gender studies, as well as for theoretical approaches to flânerie as an important aspect of urban culture.

Table of Figures
Oliver Bock and Isabel Vila-Cabanes
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany

Chapter 1 Precarious Flânerie – Towards the Formation of an Ethical Subject
by Eva Katharina Ries
Universität Augsburg, Germany

Chapter 2 To Be and Not to Be a Ghost – Revenance as a Literary Means in Peter Kurzeck’s Das schwarze Buch and Übers Eis
by Lea Herrmann
ENS Lyon, France

Chapter 3 The Bohemian and the Flâneur – Two Complementary Terms of a Life-Style Design. Reflections on the Role of (Sub)Cultural Outsiders in Scandinavian Art and Literature in the Late Nineteenth and the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
by Knut Brynhildsvoll
University of Oslo, Norway

Chapter 4 Remapping Late Nineteenth-Century London: Arthur Machen’s Dyson Mysteries and the ‘Art of London’
by Isabel Vila-Cabanes
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany

Chapter 5 Urban Abstraction in Literary Modernism: Virginia Woolf’s Street-Haunting Adventures
by Cristina Carluccio
University of Salento, Italy

Chapter 6 The Self and the City in Philippe Delerm’s Novel Quelque chose en lui de Bartleby (2009)
by Ina Schabert

Chapter 7 The Sound of Silent Memories: Negotiating Cultural Memory through Urban Noise in Teju Cole’s Open City
by Daniel Chukwuemeka
University of Bristol; Macquarie University

Chapter 8 Uncovering the Nocturnal Street: João do Rio and the crônica in Brazil
by Ana Paula Cardozo de Souza
Leiden University, The Netherlands

Chapter 9 The Dreams of Shanghai: On the Mental Life of the City in Mu Shiying’s Short Stories
by Farida Youssef

Chapter 10 Challenging and Reconfiguring Flânerie in Fictions of Contemporary Indian Metropolises
by Cecile Sandten

Chapter 11 Roaming the Streets: US Neo-Avant-Garde Cinema and Urban Transformation
by Berit Hummel
TU Berlin, Germany

Chapter 12 To Catch Things in Flight: Zygmunt Bauman’s Flâneur and the Passengers’ statu viatoris
by Viorella Manolache
Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania


At present, Dr. Oliver Bock is a post-doc researcher in the Department of English and American Studies at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (Germany). He received his PhD in 2013 upon completion of a thesis examining representations of violence in Anthony Trollope’s novels. Since then he has been engaged in a research project concerning flânerie in American literature of the nineteenth and early- to mid-twentieth centuries. In 2016 he held a post-doc research scholarship from the German Historical Institute London. Other research interests include the manuscript heritage of the British Middle Ages, the history of English philology in Britain and Germany, cultural contacts between British and German literature during the nineteenth century, and British literature of the post-WWII period.

Isabel Vila-Cabanes studied English Philology at the Universities of Valencia (Spain) and Ghent (Belgium). She completed her PhD with summa cum laude at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany), where she has been a faculty member since 2009 working as a research fellow and as an associate lecturer. She is the author of The Flaneur in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture: “The Worlds of London Unknown” (2018), Re-Imagining the Streets of Paris: The French Flaneur in Nineteenth-Century Literature (2016) and she has published extensively on the topic of flânerie. She has written articles on Dickens, the grotesque, and iconicity, including “Dickens in Popular Culture: Reception and Adaptations of his Works in Contemporary American Adult TV Series” (2014), “Reading the Grotesque in the Works of Charles Dickens and Jonathan Swift” (2014), “Iconicity, ‘Intersemiotic Translation’ and the Sonnet in the Visual Poetry of Avelino de Araújo” (2017).

urban culture, modernity, commodity culture, flânerie, urban space, post-modern flânerie, flâneur in film

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Urban Walking –The Flâneur as an Icon of Metropolitan Culture in Literature and Film





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


11 B&W

Publication date

December 2020