Walking the imperial metropolis : Janet Frame’s The Envoy from Mirror City

María Lourdes López Ropero

Abstract

This paper focuses on the third volume of Janet Frame’s autobiographic trilogy, The Envoy from Mirror City (1984), first published in Great Britain by The Women’s Press. In this volume, Frame (1924-2004), a titanic figure of New Zealand literature, recounts the beginning of her career as an internationally known writer in mid-1950s and early 1960s London. The essay charts Frame’s narrative of her appropriation of the public spaces of the metropolis, claiming her as a flaneur-artist, an activity generally carried out by male artists. An important part of my argument has been to highlight Frame’s colonial condition, and its impact on her perception of the city. Her un-Englishness grants her a marginal status in metropolitan society, which results in a high degree of detachment and freedom to move. Her cultural background provides her with a special awareness of the construction of difference, as well as a critical vision of London, a declining imperial power in the post-war period, and its urban landscape.

Keywords

Postcolonial; Frame, Janet; Women and urban space; Flânery; London; Imperialism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/fem.2005.5.06





Copyright (c) 2005 María Lourdes López Ropero

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