define: flâneur- a gentleman stroller of the streets.

to be flâneur or a flâneur. the word often has 2 connatations- positive and negative. but we will take on the positive definition...

The term flâneur comes from the French masculine noun flâneur—which has the basic meanings of "stroller", "lounger", "saunterer", "loafer"—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means "to stroll". Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of "a person who walks the city in order to experience it". Because of the term's usage and theorization by Baudelaire and numerous thinkers in economic, cultural, literary and historical fields, the idea of the flâneur has accumulated significant meaning as a referent for understanding urban phenomena and modernity.

Flâneur: Refers to an urban, upper-middle class ideal man of society. A flâneur takes pleasure in observing the modern, progressive, everyday life. He takes in his surroundings, both the fleeting beauty and the universal, timeless beauty, and he is conscious of social distinction.

Flâneuse”: The female version of a flâneur. This term was not coined during the Impressionist time period. Woman, according to society, could not actually be an observer of the modern, nor could she be progressive or conscious of the movement of urban, modern life. Artists like Cassatt and Morisot did paintings which placed women in society and portrayed them as observers of the modern and equals of the flâneur.

“The street becomes a dwelling for the flâneur; he is as much at home among the facades of houses as a citizen in his four walls. To him the shiny, enamelled signs of business are at least as good a wall ornament as an oil painting is to a bourgeois in his salon. The walls are the desk against which he presses his notebooks; newsstands are his libraries and the terraces of cafés are the balconies from which he looks down on his household after his work is done.”

––– Walter Benjamin, “The Flâneur”

*the "flâneur" (the one who strolls) and "flânerie" (the act of strolling) are often associated with Paris.

1 comment:

  1. interesting article -its a cool word too!would like to learn french at some point