'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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April 20, 2017

Walking, writing




When she was much older, [Virginia Woolf] would create her heroine Mrs. Dalloway (who 'dallies along the way' ...) who is, perhaps, the greatest flaneuse of twentieth-century literature. These are the very first words Mrs. Dalloway speaks in the novel:  'I love walking in London,' said Mrs. Dalloway. 'Really, it's better than walking in the country.' For Woolf to be able to walk in the city by herself was a hitherto unimaginable kind of freedom, and while the move [to Bloomsbury] helped her become a professional writer, it was her walks that gave her something to write about. ... As she walked through the city, she would rewrite scenes in her mind; the life she saw around her seemed 'an immense opaque block of material to be conveyed by me into its equivalent of language.' Wondering about the people she saw pushed her forward in her literary project -- how to represent 'life itself' on the page. And to do this, she turned again and again to the city that was 'the passion of [her] life.' The noise of the streets was a kind of language, she thought, one that she would stop occasionally and listen to, and try to capture. ... The jungle and shuffle of London is the heartbeat of life itself.
from Flaneuse: women walk the city in Paris, New York, Tokyo,
  Venice and London
, by Lauren Elkin


Flaneuse: women walk the city in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London,
by Lauren Elkin
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017
Borrowed from the Boston Public Library


2 comments:

JoAnn said...

I think I need to find a copy of this one...

Audrey said...

I can't think of a book that needed to be an audiobook more! And it isn't!! But I'm sure you would enjoy it. :)

Thank you for visiting!

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