Flanöör nõukogude provintsipealinnas. Üks vaatenurk Peeter Sauteri romaanile „Indigo”. The Flaneur in a Soviet Provincial Capital: A Perspective on Peeter Sauter’s Novel Indigo
AbstractIn the second half of the 20th century, there have been breakthroughs in the field of urban studies: the city environment is no longer perceived as something static, but rather as something dynamic. Likewise, the city is no longer regarded as a „thing” or a „form”; rather, the object of research is the ways in which the city is represented and constructed. In connection with these changes, the concept of the flaneur has come into use (or has been readopted), in the meaning of a subject who lives in the city and makes use of cityspace. For some time the concept of the flaneur has no longer signified the type of the wealthy stroller in the Parisian cityscape. It has been thought that the flaneurs of today are skateboarders and teenagers passing time in shopping malls. In the context of Estonian culture, traits of the flaneur have been recognized in the happenings and performances of the 1970s art scene, which, in ways similar to the literature of the time, took as their goal facilitating the overcoming of alienation from the urban environment. The character of the flaneur can also be found in Soviet-era Estonian literature. Peeter Sauter’s Indigo (1990) can be regarded as one such „flaneur-novel”. Indigo has been recognized as a literary breakthrough, one of the high points of the renewal of prose that took place during the 1990s. The protagonist of Indigo, who is named O, has several traits that connect him with the flaneur, including a symbiotic relation to the city, a preference for the public over the private sphere, a distantiated relation to his fellow citydwellers, and voyeuristic tendencies. At times, the Tallinn cityscape is described in detailed precision. The protagonist often expresses a deep devotion to his home city, and he distinctly prefers aimless wandering of the city streets to spending time in his home environment. O is likewise in conflict with the self-representation of power that dominates the city streets, and with ideologized public space.
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