The Rise of Fashion: A Reader

By Daniel Leonhard Purdy | Go to book overview

“The Pervasion of Rouge” (1896)

MAX BEERBOHM

Max Beerbohm was a renowned Edwardian aesthete and dandy who published his first collection of essays at the age of twenty-four with the grand title The Works of Max Beerbohm. His satirical novel Zuleika Dobson recounts the devastating impact that a beautiful lady magician has on the hearts of Oxford's young men. For lovers of England at the height of its power, Beerbohm's celebration of cosmetics invokes an era when small adjustments in an otherwise proper outfit could unleash a delightful scandal. As the excerpt from “The Pervasion of Rouge” shows, he believes that women exercise a vast control over society through their beauty alone. Of course, “society” is narrowly circumscribed in his writing to include the aristocratic and mercantile elite of England.

The role of wealthy women at the end of the nineteenth century was debated widely. Thorstein Veblen, for example, was venomous toward the ladies of American robber barons, whose appointed task in life, he said, was to reflect their husbands' capacity to buy luxury. Beerbohm, on the other hand, writes from inside England's elite as he celebrates the nuances of luxurious display. In his works women are granted considerable importance. They are hardly the puppets of class competition that Veblen makes them out to be, yet as Beerbohm's essay makes clear, elite women were bound by standards of dress as exacting as those applied to any dandy. He also makes clear that he considers feminism to be the enemy of women's fashion. Feminism's criticism of social constraints on women's lives directly threatens the assumptions that made Beerbohm's class seem beautiful to itself. He vents his own ire against “the horrific pioneers of womanhood” who “trespass upon men's grounds.” He attacks the trend for women to wear sporty clothes, and scorns the late nineteenth-century bicycle craze in particular. Citing the post-Victorian frivolity of the 1890s, Beerbohm claims that the allure fashion holds for both sexes guarantees that feminist reforms in women's attire were doomed to fail. Indeed, his effete aestheticism expects

-226-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Rise of Fashion: A Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 357

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.