The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris
by Edmund White
A flaneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through a city without apparent purpose but is secretly attuned to the history of the place ... Show synopsis A flaneur is a stroller, a loiterer, someone who ambles through a city without apparent purpose but is secretly attuned to the history of the place and in covert search of adventure, aesthetic or erotic. Edmund White, who lived in Paris for sixteen years, wanders through the streets and avenues and along the quays, taking us into parts of Paris virtually unknown to visitors and indeed to many Parisians. Entering the Marias evokes the history of Jews in France, just a visit to the Haynes grill recalls the presence - festive, troubled - of black Americans in Paris for a century and a half. Gays, Decadents, even Royalists past and present are all subjected to the flaneur's scrutiny. Edmund White's "The Flaneur" is opinionated, personal, subjective. As he conducts us through the bookshops and boutiques, past the monuments and palaces, filling us in on the gossip and background of each site, he allows us to see through the blank walls and past the proud edifices and to glimpse the inner, human drama. Along the way he recounts everything from the latest debates among French law-makers to the juicy details of Colette's life in the Palais Royal, even summoning up the hothouse atmosphere of Gustave Moreau's atelier. Coming soon in the series are: "Ahdaf Soueif on Cairo", "Peter Carey on Sydney" and "Rubem Fonseca on Rio".