Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Beyond the flâneur : walking, passage and crossing in London and Paris in the nineteenth century
Author: Murail, Estelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 4226 3167
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis examines reworkings of the flâneur in France and Britain during the nineteenth century (1806-1869). It suggests that before it was made famous by Baudelaire, this urban observer emerged out of French and British print culture, and of crossings between them. It has endured because it is a protean, composite figure which weaves in and out of literature, journalism and essays. Its roots in print, the thesis argues, fostered a form of cross-cultural pollination which ensured the power and persistence of the figure. Given the metamorphosis of the flâneur from ‘type’ to literary character to ‘critical concept,’ the thesis looks at flânerie as a fluid concept which demands both rigour and a possibility of going astray. My corpus reflects this flexibility since it includes newspapers and physiologies, as well as works by De Quincey, Dickens, Brontë, Balzac and Baudelaire. The thesis is chronologically structured, and begins with a study of the flâneur’s origins, exploring how the early Parisian flâneur of the press and physiologies finds predecessors and descendants in the London press. Chapter 2 demonstrates how the flâneur is rooted in the British and French collective literary imagination and is thus inextricably linked to other gazing figures whose traits he adopts and discards as he moves seamlessly through time. Chapter 3 examines how ever-evolving optical technologies profoundly altered the flâneur’s ‘ways of seeing.’ Chapter 4 is a phenomenological exploration of walking, demonstrating that the flâneur’s gaze is also created through a living, moving body embedded in time and space. The final chapter introduces the concept of croisement, a heuristic device I develop to understand the role of the flâneur as passeur and go-between and re-read the literary history of flânerie as one of constant crossings and crossovers. It concludes that the flâneur’s permanent in-betweenness or ‘out-of-jointness’ makes him ‘contemporary’1 – more capable than others of grasping his own time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available