The City

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From the end of the nineteenth and up through the twentieth century, as the Nordic capitals evolved into cities they became gathering places for artists seeking inspiration and challenge in a lively urban setting. The city had it all. The new arrival was greeted by an inferno of light, sound, smell and movement; full of the promise of freedom and independence, but also realities such as poverty and loneliness. You could grow and you could perish.

The city was the prerequisite both for the political and the literary women’s forum. It promoted the masculine take on the world – and also the feminine view. Passive visual activity, previously a female preserve limited to the private and intimate sphere, now took over the street scene. Department store windows played on the sense of sight. Staring was permitted – for women too! Staring also involved being stared at – by each other and by men.