The walker : on finding and losing yourself in the modern city

by Beaumont, Matthew, 1972-

Format: Print Book 2020
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Summary
There is no such thing as the wrong step; every time we walk we are going somewhere. Moving around the modern city becomes more than from getting from A to B, but a way of understanding who and where you are. In a series of riveting intellectual rambles, Matthew Beaumont, retraces a history of the walker.
From Charles Dicken's insomniac night rambles to wandering through the faceless, windswept monuments of the neoliberal city, the act of walking is one of escape, self-discovery, disappearances and potential revolution. Pacing stride for stride alongside such literary amblers and thinkers as Edgar Allen Poe, Andrew Breton, H G Wells, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and Ray Bradbury, Matthew Beaumont explores the relationship between the metropolis and its pedestrian life. He asks can you get lost in a crowd? It is polite to stare at people walking past on the street? What differentiates the city of daylight and the nocturnal metropolis? What connects walking, philosophy and the big toe? Can we save the city - or ourselves - by taking the pavement?
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Beaumont (Nightwalking), lecturer in English Literature at University College London, explores literary depictions of walking in this fascinating, sometimes frustrating book. Drawing on Marxist theorist Raymond Williams's claim that literary depictions of the modern city have hinged on a "man walking, as if alone, in its streets," Beaumont discusses how numerous fiction writers have dealt with this "dominant metropolitan archetype." They include Edgar Allan Poe, with his short story "The Man of the Crowd"; G.K. Chesterton, who favored the "wandering champions" of medieval romance; and Ray Bradbury via his brief SF story "The Pedestrian." Beaumont also cites such thinkers as Slavoj Žižek on the architecture of the city and Sigmund Freud with his notion of the uncanny. The density of erudition keeps the book intriguing and provocative, but Beaumont wanders down some strange avenues, such as an essay arguing that "as a bipedal species, the human being begins with the big toe." Readers may also find that Williams's specifically male formulation of the walker isn't sufficiently challenged. Still, those interested in how literature has explored urban modernity are sure to find ample food for thought. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
Walking in literature.
City and town life in literature.
Pedestrians in literature.
Walking -- England -- History -- 19th century.
Modernism (Literature) -- Great Britain.
England -- Civilization -- 19th century.
Publisher London :2020
Language English
Description 320 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 275-311) and index.
ISBN 9781788738910
1788738918
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