'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, Flâ neuse 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.
" 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