Banville's exploratory monologues owe much to the modernist idea of the disaffiliated flaneur, Poe's "man of the crowd," who creeps through the teeming city, or through dreamscapes of his own mind, trying to "understand and appreciate everything that happens," as Baudelaire put it. The "mainspring of his genius is his curiosity," Baudelaire added, and this description could also describe the average noir detective. Indeed, the meandering flaneur and the solitary noir detective have so much in common that they could even be dark brothers. [They] creep through their own lives, and the lives of other people, amassing fragments, shards of experience, trying to understand something--anything--of death, disappearance, the past, or why we live and perish, or the bizarreness of what we call ordinary life. They share a refusal of the world of "other people," a sense that exclusion is the only option. To be an insider is to be an enemy or a fool.
le Flaneur noir