American Dandy, some thoughts at bedtime by American Litterateur

Last night, I was reading, just before turning out the light, Cyril Connolly's The Evening Colonnade. He is,now, utterly out of literary  fashion but a pleasure to read, in small doses. In part two titled Divers of Worship, Mr. Connolly is in every way literary, some would even call him pretentious, but the fact of his life was that it was fully literary: he has written three essay on the Dandy that are a joy to read, and that offer insights on the life of the Dandy, as lived by certain notorious historical personalities: Brummell, D'Orsay, Disraeli, Baudelaire and Wilde to name the most famous of that breed of cat. Which led me to a kind of insight of the contemporary American literary scene and the celebrity of Mr. Tom Wolf. Certainly a Dandy of a certain vulgar American cast. In a ungenerous mood one could refer to his style as that of an aging pimp,additionally excessive and cartoonish might be apt descriptors for that Wolf 'style' – this is tautological. I am compelled to admit my crime against logical rigor, but defend myself as being correct as regards the empirical evidence, at least as I see it. But there is one quote from T.H. Lister's Granby (1826) which portrays Brummell as the character Trebeck that is worthy of quotation and remembrance:
"There was a heartlessness in his character, a spirit of gay misanthropy, a cynical depreciating view of society, an absence of high-minded generous sentiment, a treacherous versatility, and deep powers of deceit."
Can we recognize some if not all these traits in our American incarnation of this historical type?
American Litterateur


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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