Can you get lost in a crowd? It is polite to stare at people walking past on the street? What differentiates the city of daylight and the nocturnal metropolis? What connects walking, philosophy and the big toe? Can we save the city – or ourselves – by taking the pavement?
There is no such thing as the wrong step; every time we walk we are going somewhere. In a series of riveting intellectual rambles, Matthew Beaumont retraces a history of the walker from Charles Dicken’s insomniac night rambles to wandering through the faceless, windswept monuments of the neoliberal city including Edgar Allen Poe, Andrew Breton, H G Wells, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and Ray Bradbury. As the author shows, the act of walking is one of escape, self-discovery, disappearances and potential revolution, and explores the relationship between the metropolis and its pedestrian life.