The Transformation of the ‘Flaneur’ Figure to Bourgeois in Julian Barnes’s Metroland: A Critical Analysis
Keywords:Flaneur, Phantasmagoria , Ambience, Transformation, Commodity.
Charles Baudelaire employs the notion of flaneur as an idle wanderer and a passionate observer of the city life in the context of nineteenth-century Paris. Walter Benjamin in the twentieth century revisits the same notion in a slightly different manner. For Benjamin, flaneur, on the one hand, can be overwhelmed by the phantasmagoria of the city life and can develop a ‘shock experience' and on the other hand, can respond to the stimuli of the urban ambiance and can exhibit instrumental means of thinking to cope with the altered environment. In this circumstance, the latter, as Benjamin argues, is also evocative of the prospect of the flaneur’s conversion into a commodity. Following the argument of Walter Benjamin, the present paper aims to analyze the mobility and transformation of the central character, Christopher, in Julian Barnes’s novel Metroland (1980). This paper also reinforces that the character’s transformation is influenced by the societal structures as propounded by the structural Marxists like Louis Althusser.
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