A Flâneur for the 21st Century: DeLillo’s Cosmopolis

Haydon Hughes

Abstract


Walter Benjamin’s flâneur figure has been a constant presence in the literature of the city since the figure’s evocation in the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. However, while the figure has more or less remained the same, it is the space in which the figure exists that has changed. Rather than focusing on the flâneur figure, my starting point is instead the city in which the flâneur exists. DeLillo’s novel Cosmopolis explores the notion of the flâneur in a city of the digital age. As the contemporary flâneur figure constructs the self within a digital space, traditional notions of the flâneur are lost – or at least need to be reimagined. This paper aims to explore the idea of a 21st century flâneur in DeLillo’s work Cosmopolis, to shed light on how we imagine ourselves in an increasingly digital world.

 

Keywords: flâneur, digital age, the post-9/11 city


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References


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