Nerves and the Flâneurie of Flesh
With a closer attention to London Nights, chapter 5 probes into sexuality, morbidity, and the objectification of the female body. Sexual entanglement and intercourse, the chapter argues, simulates the mazy aspect of the metropolis. The Symonsian speaker follows compulsively his desire through ‘nerves’, a condition that encapsulates his energy, modernity, and malaise. The female body, embodying the contradiction of automaton and mystifying beauty, is like an ambiguous cityscape. On the other hand, the city is also perceived as an eroticised woman. These ideas are carried along in reading the ‘Bianca’ cycle of poems where flesh becomes the ultimate junction of artificiality and sensuality, and the sex act is analysed into a series of medical symptoms.
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