The city has traditionally been configured as a fundamentally masculine space. This collection of essays seeks to question many of the idées reçues surrounding women’s ongoing association with the private, the domestic and the rural. Covering a selection of films, journals and novels from the French medieval period to the Franco-Algerian present, it challenges the traditionally gendered dichotomisation of the masculine public and feminine private upon which so much of French and European literature and culture is predicated. Is the urban flâneur a quintessentially male phenomenon, or can there exist a true flâneuse as active agent, expressing the confidence and pleasure of a woman moving freely in the urban environment? Women and the City in French Literature and Culture seeks to locate exactly where women are heading – both individually and collectively – in their relationships to the urban environment; by so doing, it nuances the conventional binaristic perception of women and the city in an endeavour to redirect future research in women’s studies towards more interesting and representative urban destinations.
About the Author
Gillian Ni Cheallaigh is a former Lecturer in French and Francophone Women’s Writing at King’s College London, and currently an independent researcher.