Gender on the Divide: The Dandy in Modernist Literature

By Jessica R. Feldman | Go to book overview

AFTERWORD

"With Fred I'd be Ginger, and with Ginger I'd be Fred" -- thus reminisces Hermes Pan, rehearsal assistant to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (Croce 96). Pan speaks matter-of-factly, assuming his ability to play the parts of others, regardless of their gender. With his statement, all the mirrors click into place, for the people he impersonates during rehearsal are themselves playing dandies who mirror each other when they dance. Astaire's costume (can a tuxedo be said to cling?) reveals a figure lithe but erect, delicate but strong, cool but passionate. He talks when he sings, sings when he talks. Rogers's chiffon swirls about, a cloud that almost hides her steely, concentered self. The tiny waist, slender arms, soft lashes somehow mock our every attempt to claim her as lovely lady: those heels, like Lauzun's, are made to wound. Fred and Ginger, Ginger and Fred: they tap and swoon their way past all our comfortable categories, instructing us in their ineffable superiority even as they try to please.

Astaire and Rogers suggest a question arising inevitably from this book: just how far and wide can one range in looking for the dandy? Certainly I could have doubled the size of the book by accounting for the tradition

-269-

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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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