Reading Cities as a Flâneuse

You were drawn to many cities but Paris is very much central. Given the overlap between existing places and the literature set there, do you think the city can be “read”?

Just walking through a city is like reading – we’re receiving and processing an onslaught of information, we’re writing our own stories as we make our way through the city. This might mean paying attention to the way we experience space, the way we perceive it to be organised; or it might mean remaining alert to the traces of history, or just discerning the little differences between shopfronts, the feel of the way the neighbourhoods change as you walk across town, the rubbish on the ground, or the men cleaning the metro floor tiles with toothbrushes like they do in Tokyo…


Lauren Elkin's Flâneuse: Women Who Walk the Cities will be published in the U.S. in February, 2017. I'm anxious to read it. She doesn't mention Walter Benjamin in this interview, but she must be influenced by him.

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