Fashioning the Nineteenth Century

Fashioning the Nineteenth Century: Habits of Being 3

CRISTINA GIORCELLI
PAULA RABINOWITZ
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctt9qh3db
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  • Book Info
    Fashioning the Nineteenth Century
    Book Description:

    In nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, fashion-once the province of the well-to-do-began to make its way across class lines. At once a democratizing influence and a means of maintaining distinctions, gaps in time remained between what the upper classes wore and what the lower classes later copied. And toward the end of the century, style also moved from the streets to the parlor. The third in a four-part series charting the social, cultural, and political expression of clothing, dress, and accessories,Fashioning the Nineteenth Centuryfocuses on this transformative period in an effort to show how certain items of apparel acquired the status of fashion and how fashion shifted from the realm of the elites into the emerging middle and working classes-and back.

    The contributors to this volume are leading scholars from France, Italy, and the United States, as well as a practicing psychoanalyst and artists working in fashion and with textiles. Whether considering girls' school uniforms in provincial Italy, widows' mourning caps in Victorian novels, Charlie's varying dress in Kate Chopin's eponymous story, or the language of clothing in Henry James, the essays reveal how changes in ideals of the body and its adornment, in classes and nations, created what we now understand to be the imperatives of fashion.

    Contributors: Dagni Bredesen, Eastern Illinois U; Carmela Covato, U of Rome Three; Agnès Derail-Imbert, École Normale Supérieure/VALE U of Paris, Sorbonne; Clair Hughes, International Christian University of Tokyo; Bianca Iaccarino Idelson; Beryl Korot; Anna Masotti; Bruno Monfort, Université of Paris, Ouest Nanterre La Défense; Giuseppe Nori, U of Macerata, Italy; Marta Savini, U of Rome Three; Anna Scacchi, U of Padua; Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, U of Michigan.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8751-0
    Subjects: Anthropology, Art & Art History, Marketing & Advertising

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-X)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. XI-XVI)
  4. Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade
    (pp. XVII-XXIV)
  5. INTRODUCTION FASHIONING A CENTURY
    (pp. 1-11)
    Cristina Giorcelli

    Accessorizing the Body,the first volume of this series, featured essays primarily referring to twentieth-century fashion accessories for women and men. Scholars from Hungary, the United States, and Italy examined them across various disciplines.Exchanging Clothes,the second volume, included essays that dealt mainly with both female and male accessories and clothes worn in ancient Greece and Rome up to contemporary United States, England, Algeria, and Italy—thus, with apparel that was donned from the ninth century BC to the twentieth century AD, from Homer to Sid Vicious. Again such accessories and clothes were analyzed through several disciplinary perspectives. This...

  6. 1 PSYCHOANALYTIC VIEWS OF CROSS-DRESSING AND TRANSVESTISM
    (pp. 12-22)
    Bianca Iaccarino Idelson

    Among the greatest achievements of Freudian theory has been the invention of a new language capable of giving shape, through images, to the subjective and private experiences of the unconscious. It is a figurative and imaginative language with a terminology its own and an ability to play various roles within and between one’s psychology. In doing so, it succeeds in creating a true dramatization of consciousness. That Sigmund Freud repeatedly turned to literature in his search for confirmation of his metapsychological theories indicates his awareness of the problem he was leaving unresolved in establishing the implicit equation between (cultural) sign...

  7. 2 OUR JOB IS TO CREATE BEAUTY A PERSONAL MEMOIR OF LA PERLA
    (pp. 23-28)
    Anna Masotti

    Bologna 1954. With the enthusiasm and the spirit of enterprise typical of the postwar era, my grandmother, Ada Masotti, opened a small corset and lingerie workshop that had as its first address her kitchen, equipped with a cutting table and two Singer sewing machines. For this new enterprise, my grandfather, Antonio, handled the administration, and with the help of an assistant my grandmother created garments in lace, silk, and tulle that were in keeping with the very best classic tradition and also special styles made with a new material that came from the United States: nylon.

    Bologna already had a...

  8. 3 MODERNITY CLOTHING BIRTHING THE MODERN ATLANTIC / BIRTHING THE MODERN REPUBLIC
    (pp. 29-51)
    Carroll Smith-Rosenberg

    Clothing is the great marker of social categories. It distinguishes classes, castes, nations, regions, occupations, religions, and genders. It conveys multiple often conflicting meanings. Carefully arranged, clothing can signify social compliance; in disarray, political or social protest.¹ And always clothing is performative, always involving acts of self-display. During times of fundamental transformations, of economic, demographic, or political revolution, clothing takes on increased significance. Graphic representations of clothing—and its negation, nakedness—played important roles at two key moments in the evolution of Atlantic modernity. The first marks what many consider the birth of European modernity: Europe’s expansion into the Atlantic....

  9. 4 GARMENTS OF THE UNSEEN THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES IN CARLYLE AND EMERSON
    (pp. 52-81)
    Giuseppe Nori

    “IfSartor Resartushad not been published,” an Ohio correspondent wrote the BostonChristian Registerin March 1837, “we should not have hadNature,such as it now is.” And “it is not improbable,” the correspondent went on to say, “that Professor Teufelsdröckh suggested Mr Furness’ work on miracles.”¹ Acknowledging the influence of Carlyle’s book on “Clothes” and of its extravagant, brooding hero, the anonymous Midwestern observer was calling attention to some notable publishing events of the previous year, 1836, the annus mirabilis, as it came to be canonized, of early American romanticism. Besides William Henry Furness’sRemarks on the...

  10. 5 AN EMBLEM OF ALL THE REST WEARING THE WIDOW’S CAP IN VICTORIAN LITERATURE
    (pp. 82-105)
    Dagni Bredesen

    Early in Charlotte Yonge’s best-selling novelMagnum Bonum(1879), her heroine, the still young Caroline Allen Brownlow, loses her older physician husband to an epidemic.¹ Devoted to him while he lived, committed to carrying on his medical legacy (the Magnum Bonum of the title), and deeply invested in the care of their children, Caroline nevertheless conforms with difficulty to the sartorial conventions and social restrictions imposed on widows. Her implicit rebellion is signaled by her carelessness about her cap: “‘Oh, that wretched cap!’ she cried, jumping up, petulantly, and going to the glass to set it to rights, but with...

  11. 6 CLOTHING THE MARMOREAN FLOCK SARTORIAL HISTORICISM AND THE MARBLE FAUN
    (pp. 106-129)
    Bruno Monfort

    In the first half of chapter 14 ofThe Marble Faun,the topic of clothes and fashion turns up in the course of a discussion about the art of sculpture.¹ In a seemingly lighthearted, spirited, and rather flippant conversation, the sculptor Kenyon faces Miriam, the “dark lady” of the novel who ultimately will bear a heavy share of responsibility for the murder of the “model” committed by Donatello. This independent woman makes original work and paints figures of murderous women (Jael, Judith, Salome, Beatrice Cenci, and Charlotte Corday) who dispose of powerful men: “Over and over again there was the...

  12. 7 FLORENCE
    (pp. 130-134)
    Beryl Korot

    Video threads cut from footage of waterfalls, snow storms, boiling water.

    I look and listen to the result in front of me, this weaving of moving time, and think Florence Nightingale. Who was she?

    I go to Amazon and have books of her writings sent to the house. I fall in love with her words and select phrases spread over hundreds of pages to make a poem. We collaborate. Since childhood I’ve written poetry. Now it is with someone else’s words.

    Florence, born in 1820, intensely rejects her upper-class English destiny and seeks a of meaning and purpose. At thirty-four,...

  13. 8 ACCESSORIES TO THE CRIME IN WHAT MAISIE KNEW
    (pp. 135-155)
    Clair Hughes

    Henry James was quite sparing with his descriptions of dress in his novels. He does, however, often give his readers a generalized image of the dress-effect of a character, usually an image with a symbolic function that places that character within the novel’s dramatic conflicts in a vivid and convincing fashion. James’s economic use of dress is very far from indicating that he was uninterested in clothes. Rather the opposite. He was extremely interested, but he wanted every touch to count, to be an integral and essential “brick” in the structure of what he referred to, in one of his...

  14. 9 COSTUME AND FORM D’ANNUNZIO AND MUTABLE APPEARANCES
    (pp. 156-180)
    Marta Savini

    As one would expect, attitudes toward clothes vary significantly from one historical period to another, often in close relation to painting, art, and culture in general.¹ But the ephemeral world of clothing is less apparent in the Italian literary tradition, because writers do not seem “attracted to clothes, as much as to the physical and spiritual beauty of the person wearing them.”² From this perspective, Gabriele D’Annunzio represents an exception, given his passionate interest in fashion, his careful and detailed descriptions of dress and accessories, and his cult of the image shaped by clothes,³ even more so when compared to...

  15. 10 REDEFINING AMERICAN WOMANHOOD SHAWLS IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY LITERATURE
    (pp. 181-209)
    Anna Scacchi

    During the last decades of the nineteenth century, shawls underwent a radical change in the United States: they disappeared from middle-class women’s wardrobes to become an ethnic badge, an item of clothing worn by immigrant women. They later returned to vogue as exotic accessories for the well-off. Until the early 1870s, shawls had been a recurring presence in women’s magazines, literature, and the visual arts, where they were presented as a comfortable and practical protection against the cold and apparently lacked strong class, racial, or ethnic connotations. In short, they democratically cloaked all the women of the Republic without raising...

  16. 11 A LOVELY LITTLE COFFEE-COLORED DRESS EDUCATION, FEMALE IDENTITY, AND DRESS IN LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY ITALY
    (pp. 210-228)
    Carmela Covato

    It is a lovely little coffee-colored dress that Giovanni Verga symbolically entrusts with the task of expressing the longing for freedom felt by Maria, the protagonist of his novelSparrow: The Story of a Songbird,¹ written in 1869 and published for the first time in 1871 in Milan in Giovanni Battista Lampugnani’s fashion, style, and culture periodical,Il giornale delle famiglie La Ricamatrice.²

    Maria is a convent-educated girl who (because her family has decided it) shall become a nun. Due to a cholera epidemic then threatening Catania, she is allowed to stay home with her family in the country. There...

  17. 12 GENDER AND POWER DRESSING “CHARLIE”
    (pp. 229-259)
    Cristina Giorcelli

    Kate Chopin wrote “Charlie” in 1900, the year after the publication of her second and final novel,The Awakening.The story may have fallen victim to the mostly bad reviews that greeted the publication of her (at the time misunderstood) masterpiece: rejected by two magazines, it lay among her papers until 1969.¹ “Charlie” deals with the strong tie binding a widowed father, who is “preposterously young looking—slender, with a clean shaved face and deep set blue eyes ... and dark brown hair” (644), to his favorite, the seventeen-year-old Charlie, the second of his seven daughters. In this story, Chopin,...

  18. 13 IMAGINATIVE HABITS FANTASIES OF UNDRESSING IN THE AMBASSADORS
    (pp. 260-276)
    Agnès Derail-Imbert

    Henry James’s favorite novel,The Ambassadors,situated in turn-of-the-century fashionable Paris, is among his most concerned with dress, even if descriptions of clothes, accessories, and furniture almost never fulfill a realistic or documentary function. Returning once more to the transatlantic theme, addressing the confrontation of cultures, the clash of civilizations, James sends his hero, middle-aged Lewis Lambert Strether, from the heart of neopuritanical, materialistic, and provincial Woollett in New England directly to the world capital of fashion, taste,art de vivre,where he is instantaneously overwhelmed with a surge of aesthetic emotions incompatible with Woollett’s rigid moral standards. Hired as...

  19. CODA SEEN AND OBSCENE
    (pp. 277-286)
    Paula Rabinowitz

    In 1859, Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti described his new work,Bocca Baciata, as “a rapid study of flesh painting” in what was perhaps an extended response to critic John Ruskin’s comment to Louise, Marchioness of Waterford, on Rossetti’s 1858 paintingGolden Water.Ruskin had relished that work’s” golden glow of Venetian colour,” exhibiting a woman “wearing a dress of woven gold, with green-blue lining—showing in a series of waves or indentations at the edge of the robe: her long golden hair falling over all.“Such attention to the flow and response of skin, hair, cloth, and color was a...

  20. Contributors
    (pp. 287-289)
  21. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)