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During the past two centuries, the figure of the flâneur has metamorphosed from a literary type associated with the public places of Paris into a protean cultural myth used to represent the fragmented experiences of modernity. This paradoxical figure came into existence within an increasingly democratized and commercialized cultural marketplace that emerged in Paris during the early nineteenth century. He was both the product and the producer of popular literary texts such as guide books, illustrated essays, feuilletons, and cheap pocket-size booklets called physiologies that were devoted to the classification of urban types. This entry looks at the character, his impact, and his evolution.

Characteristics

Invariably depicted as a man of leisure, meticulously dressed in black frock coat and top hat and carrying a walking stick or ...

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