The Flâneur

A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris

White, Edmund

Book - 2001
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Flâneur
Bloomsbury is proud to announce the first title in an occasional series in which some of the world's finest novelists reveal the secrets of the city they know best. These beautifully produced, pocket-sized books will provide exactly what is missing in ordinary travel guides: insights and imagination that lead the reader into those parts of a city no other guide can reach. 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, esthetic 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 Marais evokes the history of Jews in France, just as 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.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2001
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 1582341354
Branch Call Number: 944.36 W583f 2001
Characteristics: 211 p. :,map ;,19 cm


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The way to see Paris is on foot and this is a lovely stroll through the city's history.

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Dec 18, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

White spent many years in Paris during the eighties and nineties and has stamped for us his personal perceptions of the streets of Paris. As a flaneur, an idle stroller, he lingers in quiet corners, walks through hidden histories and fleshes out the mythical personalities of this most magical of cities. White’s prose is eloquent and the bibliography he includes whets one’s appetite for even more Parisian confidences.


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Apr 14, 2013
  • LProfeta rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Paris at night when excited minds wander and thrill as with all great writers in tow.


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