The Pursuit of Pleasure: Gender, Space & Architecture in Regency London
Until recently, architectural historians have focused their attention on buildings financed by wealthy patrons and designed by prestigious architects. Historical analysis has centered on the politics of this architecture and how social class has contributed to the design. Feminist historians have explored the role of women architects, and they have examined how gender difference informs architectural design.
In discussing public urban sites and the social exchanges that take place there, Rendell also examines the types of individuals displayed in--or excluded by--these spaces, such as the rambler and the cyprian, precursors to the Parisian flâneur and prostitute. Illustrated with contemporary prints and drawings, The Pursuit of Pleasure is a rich analysis of public space at the birth of the modern metropolis.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
The many Regency-era history buffs will be delighted with this look at the buildings where the upper classes entertained themselves and be very grateful to Jane Rendell for pulling this together into a readable volume. This would be a good choice for their reference shelf. I hesitated at first, since this is obviously an academic work which I feared would be too specialized, but I recommend it to the general reader. Rendell has not limited herself to an examination of the buildings, but also looks at social factors such that affected their design, such as the illegality of some of the pursuits, and also at how people actually used them. The book is illustrated throughout with the wonderful illustrations that the Cruikshanks did for Pierce Egan's Life in London. I found Chapter 1, wherein Rendell explains how she came to write this book, somewhat off-putting and stiffly academic, but most of the book is extremely readable and absorbing, with occasional, rare intrusions of academese. Rendell explains that she was "seduced" by two texts: Luce Irigaray's "Women on the Market" and Pierce Egan's Life in London. I was originally going to say that Irigaray could have been left out, for my taste, I find these analysis inadequate. But I rethought that. At 52, I am old enough to remember how history used to be done, when only political events were "real" history and woman were usually counted among the furnishings, so even if such feminist theorizing sometimes seems silly or lacking in nuance, it is one of the things that has broadened and enriched our understanding of the past. There is an excellent bibliography, and an index. The notes have running titles giving the pages to which they refer, and so are easy to match with the text. My compliments to the publisher: the book is well-edited and beautifully printed with generous margins, easy to read type-face.
Review: The Pursuit of Pleasure: Gender, Space and Architecture in Regency LondonUser Review - Marsha Altman - Goodreads
Reads like the expanded graduate thesis it probably is, which is honestly not as bad as the introduction made it out to be. Lots of lines like, "This desire operates through tropes of mobility and ... Read full review