Walking and the Aesthetics of Modernity


Walking and the Aesthetics of Modernity.

Pedestrian Mobility in Literature and the Arts

Klaus Benesch and François Specq, Editors

New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2016

The Critics’ View

“From Rousseau’s reveries of a solitary walker in nature to Baudelaire’s curious Parisian flâneur, the eminently human act of walking has inspired writing, art, and reflection in a wide range of registers. The stimulating essays collected here approach ‘pedestrian mobility’ in its relationship to creativity in modern case studies from De Quincey and Diderot to Colm Tóibín, Patricia Lefèbvre’s Femme qui marche and Gus Van Sant’s ‘Walking Trilogy.’ This book makes readers keenly aware of whole new ways of understanding a most common human activity.” (Werner Sollors, Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English and Professor of African-American Studies, Harvard University, USA and author of The Temptation of Despair: Tales of the 1940s)

“A fascinating collection of essays that will be indispensable to scholars and students
of modernism and cultural studies. Building on the new consciousness of place, the contributors explore walking as a model for literary structure, and as a way of discovering, dreaming, remembering, and forgetting. The volume has an impressive range, from Baudelaire and Thoreau to Walter Benjamin, Edith Wharton, Gary Snyder,
and Jennifer Egan, and including film and photography as well. Together, the essays
validate powerfully the editors’ argument for the centrality of mobility studies to modernism.” (Miles Orvell, Professor of English, Temple University, USA and author of The Death and Life of Main Street: Small Towns in American Memory Space, and