In my Independent Study, I analyze the flâneur, a nineteenth century literary figure known for wandering the streets of Paris. Born as a result of modernity, the flâneur sought refuge in the majestic arcades of Paris, absorbing every detail of this new modern life. By using Walter Benjamin's unfinished work, "Arcades Project," I attempt to define the flâneur in more precise terms. From here, I build a case to disprove Benjamin's assumption that the flâneur disappeared along with the advent of materialism. By discussing poetry, paintings, literature, and film from three distinct periods, I construct a more concrete image of the modern flâneur and of Paris. In concluding, my own recent experience as a flâneur helps to put into perspective the special role the city of Paris plays in the well-being of this unique literary figure.


Durham, Carolyn


French and Francophone Studies


French and Francophone Language and Literature


flaneur, paris, walter benjamin, charles baudelaire, constantin guys, arcades

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2012 Christopher J. Hanson