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I love you a lot James. I love you so much. Many of the articles included the supposed true detail about the champagne boot polish. Having never managed a good spit shine on uniform shoes, my first thought was that I might have been more successful had I used champagne as opposed to spit. The second time I read it, I remembered that champagne was wine and wine is sticky when dumped on something such as leather. Does the introduction of long pants to the upper classes make a difference? That tie seems to be the real precursor to the modern necktie.

I was introduced to the Beau by Regency-era romance author Georgette Heyer, as a child. Eighty years or so after she wrote about Beau, her books are still in demand because she remains respected for the accuracy of her portrayal of the upper classes in the Regency era. Perhaps the author of the article critiqued here should have read one of her books, in lieu of a well-respected biography. Essentially Brummell's philosophical stance was to stand for nothing in particular, a posturing that aptly crystallized the uncertainty of a period that witnessed the decline of aristocracy and the early rise of democratic politics.

Sartorially, he refined a mode of dress that adopted English country style in a renunciation of the affectations of Francophile fashion ironically so, if one considers that these very fripperies have become so linked to the dandyism of contemporary imagination. As the dress historian James Laver, writing in , points out, "whatever else it was, [dandyism] was the repudiation of fine feathers" p.

If Brummell was considered oppositional, it was in the privileging of this country clothing for wholly urban pursuits. Not an innovator Thomas Coke of Norfolk was the first of the nobility to present himself in court in "sporting" attire over half a century previously , Brummell merely encapsulated and reflected back to society the sentiments of the times.

In the early s, the "sporting costume" of the English nobility reflected the increase in time spent supervising their estates; a top hat and tails in sober tones, linen cravats, breeches, and sturdy riding boots were a uniform of practicality and prudence.

Du Dandysme Et de George Brummell

That Brummell appropriated this style for promenading through London's arcades and holding court at one of the many gentlemen's clubs of which he was a member served a dual purpose—suggesting the validity of entertainment as the "occupation" of the leisured classes while eradicating any immediate visible difference in status between himself and the "working" man. In his recorded witticisms and his style, Brummell appeared to contemplate no distinction other than taste. His preoccupation with pose and appearance was derided as the last gasp of aristocratic decadence, but in many ways he anticipated the modern era—a world of social mobility in which taste was privileged above birth and wealth.

Elevated as a style icon, he presaged the contemporary dominance of fashion and celebrity; clothing is as powerful a tool now as it was two hundred years ago for conveying new social and economic directions. Dedicated to perfection in dress his lengthy toilette was legendary and the immaculate presentation of his body, Brummell's total control over his image finds its legacy in twenty-first-century masculine dress styles.

Dandyism was a potent cocktail that swiftly endeared itself to England's European neighbor, France and much later to Russia , privileging a love of beauty in material goods while appearing to nod to the revolutionary sentiment of the times. Only a teenager when dandyism first crossed the seas to Paris, d'Orsay's sartorial power had risen to Brummellian heights by Unlike Brummell, however, d'Orsay's pursuit of dandyism was a search for personal fulfillment rather than social power.

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Already powerful by token of birth, d'Orsay's legacy was of dandyism as fashion plate, and he became known as the original "butterfly dandy. That much of France's dandy traditions grew from literary interpretation.

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Defining dandyism is a complex task, and few writers have done so more successfully than Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his treatise on the dandy of , Pelham; or, The Adventures of a Gentleman. Considered at the time to be a manual for the practice of dandyism, it amply demonstrates the growing link between the promotion of the self and promotion through the social ranks. Notable maxims include: "III: Always remember that you dress to fascinate others, not yourself," and "XXIII: He who esteems trifles for themselves is a trifler—he who esteems them for the conclusions to be drawn from them, or the advantage to which they can be put, is a philosopher" pp.

That Bulwer-Lytton associates dandy practice with philosophy was concordant with later literary movements such as Barbey D'Aurevilly's toward enshrining dandyism as intellectual pose rather than fashionable consumption. More immediately, however, Pelham inspired a Victorian backlash against dandyism that was to define the s. At around the same time as d'Orsay reached the peak of his influence, back in England William Make-peace Thackeray was releasing the serial of his novel Vanity Fair , at the venerable age of thirty-six.

Thackeray had contributed significantly to the Victorian approbation of dandyism in the s, epitomized by the views expressed in Thomas Carlyle 's Sartor Resartus [The tailor retailored] Thackeray's regular columns and later novels, Vanity Fair and The History of Pendennis , were vivid representations of the moral and religiously driven belief that dandyism was a shallow and louche behavioral deficiency but they ironically were informed by his association with, and enjoyment of, the company of dandies such as d'Orsay.

Catalog Record: Du dandysme et de G. Brummell. Memoranda | HathiTrust Digital Library

It was the French, in particular D'Aurevilly, that were to define dandyism, through literature, as a positive practice and "robust moral philosophy" Breward, p. D'Aurevilly's Du dandyisme et de Georges Brummell had a profound influence on all the texts, British and French, that followed it.

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Jesse was to broaden D'Aurevilly's already significant knowledge of dandyism, Regency literature, and the history of the Restoration, which formed the background to the practice by introducing him to more obscure texts that would never have reached the shores of France. D'Aurevilly was a little known author and poet prior to Dandyisme and found it hard to find a journal willing to publish his text.

D'Aurevilly, for the first time, celebrated dandyism and dedication to pose as a distinction. Dress, while important, was relegated to second place behind D'Aurevilly's emphasis on the " intellectual quality" of Brummell's position. As Ellen Moers points out in her seminal text The Dandy , "Barbey's originality is to make dandyism available as an intellectual pose. The dandy is equated with the artist; society thus ought to pay him tribute. Brummell is indeed the archetype of all artists, for his art was one with his life" p.

The understanding of dandyism as an artistic presentation of the body related to the single-minded pursuit of bohemian individuality was developed thoroughly in the writings of Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire was not that interested in Brummell, but more in the modernity, as he saw it, of the ideas that he expressed.

Baudelaire saw in Brummell's dandyism the elevation of the trivial to a position of principle that perfectly mirrored, and offered an ideal framework for, his own beliefs.


Baudelaire and D'Aurevilly maintained close contact through the s and s, exchanging letters, books and ideas about the practice. It was primarily through D'Aurevilly's writings that Baudelaire's bohemian dandy philosophy was made clear, although Baudelaire's one essay on the subject Le peintre de la vie moderne later came to define Baudelaire's approach to the subject. As Moers suggests, D'Aurevilly's text on Brummell was so definitive as to liberate Baudelaire to "reach for the Dandy whole, as a symbol in the poetic sense" p.

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Baudelaire's view of dandyism as an "aristocracy superiority of [the] mind … [a] burning desire to create a personal form of originality" Benjamin, p. Sur Les Affaires Pr sentes de l'Europe. FREE Shipping.

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