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Rachel Bowlby

Rachel Bowlby is the author, among other books, of Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping, Shopping with Freud, and Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Dreiser, Gissing and Zola. Her work on the history of shopping has moved between the department stores of the nineteenth century (Just Looking), which offered middle-class women a space in the city that was both safe and glamorous, and the supermarkets of the twentieth century (Carried Away), thought of as placeless and faceless and readily linked to an idea of suburban sameness. Thinking about the different prospects of city walking and city curiosity, she has also worked on the figure of the flâneur—the walker in the streets—and his unsymmetrical female counterparts, the flâneuse and the passante, the female passer-by, momentarily glimpsed (see ‘Women, Walking and Writing’, in Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis). An essay on commuting appears in Restless Cities, ed. Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart (2010).


Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping. London: Faber and Faber, November 2000 and New York: Columbia UP, 2001. 281 pp. (On the history of self-service and supermarkets in relation to suburbs, high streets, and changing conceptions of women shoppers.)

Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Reprinted 1998. x + 185pp. (Includes two chapters on women and the city.)

Just Looking: Consumer Culture in Dreiser, Gissing and Zola. London and New York: Methuen, 1985. xii + 187pp. Rpt. 2010 (London: Routledge). (On the rise of the city department store and leisured shopping for women.)

Edited Book

Editor with Introduction: Virginia Woolf, The Crowded Dance of Modern Life: Selected Essays, Volume 2 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993). (Includes all Woolf’s significant essays on the city and modernity.)


‘Commuting’, in Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart (eds), Restless Cities (London: Verso, 2010), pp. 43-57.

'Readable City’, invited contribution to forum on ‘The City’, PMLA 122:1 (January 2007): 306-9.

'Défense d'afficher: Women, Posters and Modernity', in Christoph Grunenberg and Max Hollein (eds), Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture, catalogue for exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, and Tate Liverpool (Hatje Kantaz Publishers, 2002), pp. 85-92.

'Full of Shopping: How Consumer Culture is (Always) Taking Over', Harvard Design Magazine, Fall 2002/Spring 2003: 46-52.

'The Ultimate Consumer', on Valéry Larbaud, Women: A Cultural Review, 11:1/2 (Spring 2000): 109-17.

'Supermarket Futures', in Jane Pavitt (ed), (London: V&A Publications, 2000), catalogue for exhibition on the visual history of product branding, pp. 152-4.

'Virginia Woolf et la vitrine'/'Virginia Woolf and the shop window', Etudes britanniques contemporaines (automne 1999): 69-78.

'Meet Me In St Louis: Virginia Woolf and Communities', in Laura Davis and Jean McVicker (eds), Proceedings of the Eighth International Virginia Woolf Conference (New York: Pace UP, 1999), pp. 147-60.

'The Other Day: The Interpretation of Daydreams', in New Formations 34 (Summer 1998): 9-26.Reprinted in Laura Marcus (ed), Sigmund Freud's 'The Interpretation of Dreams': New Interdisciplinary Essays (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1999), pp. 160-82; and in Carol Jacobs and Henry Sussman (eds), Acts of Narrative (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2003), pp. 62-80.

'Sad Hearts and Supermarkets', Textual Practice, 11:2 (Summer 1997): 199-218.

'Supermarket Futures', in Pasi Falk and Colin Campbell (eds), The Shopping Experience (London: Sage, 1997), pp. 92-110.

'Domestication', in Diane Elam and Robyn Wiegman (eds), Feminism Beside Itself (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 71-91. Reprinted in Martin McQuillan (ed.), Deconstruction: A Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp. 304-10.

'Walking, Women and Writing', on Baudelaire, Proust and Woolf, in Isobel Armstrong (ed), New Feminist Discourses: Critical Essays on Theories and Texts (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 26-47.

'p/s', on the figure of the passante, in Parveen Adams and Elizabeth Cowie (eds), The Woman in Question: An m/f Anthology (London: Verso and Boston: MIT P, 1990), pp. 358-76.

'Modes of Modern Shopping: Mallarmé at the Bon Marché', in Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse (eds), The Ideology of Conduct: Essays in Literature and the History of Sexuality (London: Methuen, 1987), pp. 185‑205.

'Promoting Dorian Gray', on the relation of aestheticism and consumerism, Oxford Literary Review, Vol. 9 (1987), 147‑62. Reprinted in Jonathan Freedman (ed.), Oscar Wilde, New Century Views series (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1996): 178-92.

'Secsexecs', on the magazine Working Woman, in Oxford Literary Review, Vol. 8 (1986), 105‑12.

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