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Dandies, Æsthetes & Flâneurs

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A Dandy In Aspic [25 Oct 2005|05:05pm]
That's the title of an espionage novel by Derek Marlowe I just picked up. Here's a quote from the back cover, taken from an interview with the author in The London Observer:

Dandyism... is a state of mind as well as a state of dress.... The dandy strives, above all, for self-discipline, and a discipline that denies him friends, sex and ostentation; his goal is to achieve the super-ego via a rigid set of rules based on utmost restraint, naturalness and simplicity.... Great dandies like D'Orsay, Brummell and D'Auberville will never be seen again because the whole structure of society has changed too rapidly.

And from the novel itself, the first long description of the protagonist:

Obliged, by a quirk of fate long since regretted, to play out his role, he blundered on into the dawn of middle age, a hermetic dandy, surrounding himself only with the fetish of himself - predominantly his clothes, which he chose with exquisite and envied care, his books, his three double-barreled fowling pieces by Manton, and his collection of old Sèvres porcelain locked in a vault in the V and A - and an utter lack of envy for his fellow man. He had that noble selflessness of a man who cares for no one but himself. Brummell, a man he admired unashamedly, had that. Until he went mad.

Crossposted: barbary_club, fop_club, refinement.
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