Modernist perambulations through time and space: From Enlightened walking to crawling, stalking, modelling and street-walking

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Title: Modernist perambulations through time and space: From Enlightened walking to crawling, stalking, modelling and street-walking
Authors: Fuchs, Anne
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Date: 18-Oct-2016
Online since: 2019-04-17T08:41:15Z
Abstract: Analysing diverse modes of walking across a wide range of texts from the Enlightenment period and beyond, this article explores how the practice of walking was discovered by philosophers, educators and writers as a rich discursive trope that stood for competing notions of the morally good life. The discussion proceeds to then investigate how psychological, philosophical and moral interpretations of bad practices of walking in particular resurface in texts by Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and the interwar writer Irmgard Keun. It is argued that literary modernism transformed walking from an Enlightenment trope signifying progress into the embodiment of moral and epistemological ambivalence. In this process walking becomes an expression of the disconcerting experience of modernity. The paper concludes with a discussion of walking as a gendered performance: while the male walkers in the modernists texts under discussion suffer from a bad gait that leads to ruination, the new figure of the flâneuse manages to engage in pleasurable walking by abandoning the Enlightenment legacy of the good gait.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: The British Academy
Journal: Journal of the British Academy
Volume: 4
Start page: 197
End page: 219
Copyright (published version): The British Academy 2016
Keywords: Modes of walkingDiscursive tropeEnlightenment discourseModernismModernityMoral and epistemological ambivalenceGenderFlâneuse
DOI: 10.5871/jba/004.197
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:UCD Humanities Institute Research Collection

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