The Tyranny of Elegance: Consumer Cosmopolitanism in the Era of Goethe

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Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998 - Business & Economics - 301 pages
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In The Tyranny of Elegance, Daniel Purdy examines the coming of bourgeois fashion (Mode) and luxury consumerism (Luxus) to eighteenth-century Germany. Purdy examines the extraordinary influence of Frederick Bertuch's Mode Journal, which chronicled in obsessive detail the clothing and decorative trends in London, Paris, and other European capitals. He traces the elite reaction against fashion that followed the example of the king, Frederick the Great, who dressed poorly - in worn and even dirty clothes - to separate himself from the francophile fastidiousness typical of absolutist armies. The changing notions of personal appearance that swept Europe at the end of the eighteenth century, Purdy concludes, were more than simply new styles reflecting new political ideologies - they indicated a fundamental shift in the epistemology of the subject and the body.

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Contents

Fashion Journals and the Education of Enlightened Consumers
1
Identificatory Perception
22
3
38
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Daniel L. Purdy is assistant professor in the Department of Germanic Languages at Columbia University.

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