Jane Rendell

The Pursuit of Pleasure

The Pursuit of Pleasure focuses on rambling, an eighteenth and early nineteenth century form of urban exploration represented in texts such as Pierce Egan’s Life in London (1820-1). The author takes the figures and spaces of the ramble –  specifically the rambler and the cyprian (precursors to the Parisian flâneur and prostitute) and the clubs, sporting venues, operas, assembly rooms, streets, arcades of London’s St. James’s – as a starting point for considering the gendering of public space. Drawing on critical theory, geography and philosophy, The Pursuit of Pleasure extends and critiques the discipline of architectural history from a feminist perspective. The gendering of space is considered to be a complex and shifting series of gendered moves and looks between men and women, constructed and represented through spatial and social relations of consumption, display and exchange.

Publication details: Jane Rendell, The Pursuit of Pleasure:  Gender, Space and Architecture in Regency London, (London: Continuum, 2002).

Images: Pierce Egan, Life in London (1820-1). The Guildhall Library and on the cover of The Pursuit of Pleasure Sharon Kivland.