UK: Chatto & Windus
Germany: btb Verlag
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City
FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY
A New York Times Notable Book of 2017
A Radio 4 Book of the Week
'Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.
That is an imaginary definition.'
If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?
In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.
From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.
Called "deliciously spiky and seditious" by The Guardian, Flâneuse will inspire you to light out for the great cities yourself.
Praise for Flâneuse:
An uplifting, gender-bending critique of how women negotiate public space -- Deborah Levy ― Guardian, Book of the Year
I've been waiting for years to see the history of women walkers in the city added to the critical literature of the flaneur--and here, in Lauren Elkin's really smart and lovely book ― Vivian Gornick
"Absorbing . . . Elkin has an eye for the unexpected detail, as befits a flâneuse. . . It will be up to booksellers to figure out how to categorize her pastiche of travel writing, memoir, history and literary nonfiction. A reader, flaneusing along the bookshelves, will find in it some of the pleasures of each." ―Diane Johnson, The New York Times Book Review
The thoughtful urban stroller Lauren Elkin is a self-appointed heir to Woolf's 'street haunter'. A memoir, a travelogue and an eminently likeable work of literary criticism, Flaneuse is more like a song sung under Elkin’s breath. [...] At its best, her book evokes reading aloud... reading your own life through the novels that form part of it. ― Gaby Wood, Daily Telegraph
“An intense meditation on what it means to be a woman and walk out in the world . . . [Flâneuse] encourages its readers to lace up their shoes and go for a walk . . . Elkin lets the reader become a companion to many women who have thought seriously about the relationship between a woman and the path she chooses to tread.” ―Erica Wagner, New Statesman
Deliciously spiky and seditious, she takes her readers on a rich, intelligent and lively meander through cultural history, biography, literary criticism, urban topography and memoir… I defy anyone to read this celebratory study and not feel inspired to take to the streets in one way or another. ― Lucy Scholes, Observer