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Emerson, Catherine
Regarding Manneken Pis: Culture, Celebration and Conflict in Brussels
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Manneken Pis, a fountain featuring a bronze child urinating, has stood on the same Brussels street corner since at least the mid-fifteenth century. Since there is no consensus on its meaning, it has been used to express many different readings of social relations in a complex city and nation state. It has formed part of the festival culture of the city from royal entries to gay pride but has also been exploited in conflicts arising out of war and occupation, and the tensions inherent in modern Belgium. Drawing on archives, histories, police reports, devotional literature, ephemera and a wealth of other sources, Catherine Emerson examines how one smaller-than-lifesized water source has come to embody a certain sort of Brussels identity.
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