Gender on the Divide: The Dandy in Modernist Literature

By Jessica R. Feldman | Go to book overview

1
INTRODUCTION

DEFINING DANDIES

The dandy is the riddle, the ever-expanding set of questions which forms about the changing answer of human identity itself. As students of the dandy ruefully discover, the urge to delimit dandyism by time, place, or coterie is both irresistible and contrary to dandyism's spirit, that of displacement. If a center must be named, the Regency period in England presents itself, with Beau Brummell the reigning beau on whom all other dandies necessarily model themselves.1 According to this historical model, dandyism, originally an English phenomenon, crossed the channel to France when exiled French aristocrats, schooled in the ways of London high society, found it safe to return to Paris. Dandyism then developed simultaneously in London and Paris, each group of dandies looking across

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Every study of literary dandyism owes a debt to Ellen Moers, The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm. It offers an excellent historical background to the subject. For a list of other historical accounts of dandyism, see the bibliography in Carassus. Among the works most useful to me have been Creed, François, Prevost, and Kempf.

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Gender on the Divide: The Dandy in Modernist Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Paroles Hermaphrodites 25
  • 3 - Cette Vie En L''Air 54
  • 4 - Mundus Muliebris 97
  • 5 - On the Divide 143
  • 6 - The Intimidating Thesis 180
  • 7 - The Abyssinian Maid 220
  • Afterword 269
  • Select Bibliography 273
  • Index 285
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