the principle of flânerie in Proust

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“The principle of flânerie in Proust: ‘Then, quite apart from all those literary preoccupations, and without definite attachment to anything, suddenly a roof, a gleam of sunlight reflected from a stone, the smell of a road would make me stop still, to enjoy the special pleasure that each of them gave me, and also because they appeared to be concealing, beneath what my eyes could see, something which they invited me to approach and take from them, but which, despite all my efforts, I never managed to discover’. (Du Côte de chez, Swann < [Paris, 1939], vol. 1, p. 256 > — This passage shows very clearly how the old Romantic sentiment for landscape dissolves and a new Romantic conception of landscape emerges – of landscape that seems, rather to be a cityscape, if it is true that the city is the properly sacred ground of flânerie.”

– from The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin (p 420)


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