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Reading Response Two - Wanderlust

Autor:   •  March 14, 2018  •  Article Review  •  522 Words (3 Pages)  •  250 Views

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Reading Response Two - Wanderlust

The title of the chapter 'Paris, or Botanizing on the Asphalt' immediately sets the tone for the piece we read out of Wanderlust. Botany usually refers to the study of plants; of forests that often evoke a primeval sense of wonder. Rebeca Solnit takes the streets of Paris, and pays homage to them in her piece, and calls attention to another facet of urban life: the flâneur, or lounger. She starts her piece by calling to mind images of Parisian city streets, describing them to suggest they are all part of some homogenous being. The reverence in which she speaks when describing the features of the Parisian city instantly call to mind last week's author George Perec.

In the same way that Perec calls to mind the very nature of observation of the obvious, Solnit takes the act of walking and turns it into a scientific study or art form, analyzing great thinkers and authors that began to see it as more than a meager mode of transportation. The act of walking, to most people, is the act of getting from point A to point B. Individuals often take walking for granted, but that is not the point of Solnit's piece. She writes to educate the reader on the art of walking. Towards the end of the chapter she quotes a contemporary French intellectual who describes walking as, "…grammar of the legs…,' and I find this incredibly thought provoking. Cities such as Paris with their beautiful streets, and promenades, bridges, and arches are meant to be walked. The advent of the car has in many ways blinded us to the beauty of walking in a city street. Driving at a high rate of speed obscures our understanding of a city's beauty. A flâneur is an artist in this way, and the city is his or her artistic medium. In our modern day, these people are often looked at negatively. I think we often question, "What is that person doing?" or comment


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