Title

Allegories of walking in the modern age.

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Pender, Stephen,

Keywords

Literature, Canadian (English).

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

In The Origin of German Tragic Drama, Walter Benjamin presents the allegory as monadic in shape. Borrowing from Gottfried Liebniz, Benjamin sees the allegory as having similarities with the monad in that both are singular yet whole: the entire is condensed within the particular. In Benjamin's schema, the truth can only be gained piecemeal; the whole can only be grasped through the minutiae. Accordingly, that which previously remained out of reach---the whole---becomes graspable through the fragment. Employing Benjamin's understanding of the monadic properties of the allegory, this paper follows three allegorical figures of walking: Benjamin's flaneur, Louis Aragon's surrealist stroller, and Guy Debord's situationist drifter or deriver. By studying these three city-walkers an entire world is brought into view: France of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This paper seeks to explain how revolutionary fervour dissipated in a country rife with revolutionary history. By inductively examining the three incarnations of the Paris stroller, the undulations of critical consciousness are rendered transparent, from the barricade-fighting of 1848, the dissipation after 1871, and the re-emergence in the month of May, 1968. The flaneur explains the disappearance of revolutionary desire with the rise of the consumer, while the surrealist stroller demonstrates the strength of phantasmagoric desire. By exposing capital's inequalities, however, the situationist drifter paves the way for the return of revolutionary desire.Dept. of English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2004 .A444. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-05, page: 1565. Adviser: Stephen Pender. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.