Autumn Rivulets

The weather to-day is pristine. Yet we must resist temptation to cling to these fleeting sun-streaked days of early Autumn, and instead take comfort remembering that the most delectable inning is yet upon us—that is, according to our “theoretician of decadence”, Charles Baudelaire, that mixer of “the grave and the gay”. As Baudelaire’s contemporary Paul Bourget wrote in an appreciation of the grim dandy’s sensibility:

His beloved season is the end of autumn, when a melancholic charm seems magically to fill a lowering sky and a heavy heart. His hours of delight are the evening hours, when the sky is as colorful as the background of a picture by da Vinci, with its nuances of a dying pink and a nearly fading green.

Ah yes, that fine, dying season when occasion calls to curl up under a ruined blanket and nod in approval as we trace our slender finger over a few morbid lines.

A great bell mourns, a wet log wrapped in smoke

Sings in falsetto to the wheezing clock,

While from a rankly perfumed deck of cards

The Queen of Spades and the dapper Jack of Hearts

Speak darkly of dead loves, how they were lost.


A question updated. Susan Sontag wrote 45 years ago that “Camp is the modern dandyism. Camp is the answer to the problem: how to be a dandy in the age of mass culture.” Now that Camp itself has been subsumed into Trash Culture we might ask: how might we recognize a dandy in the age of ¡¡¡¿¡¿¡ culture? (And don’t say crisp suits.)


Bonus Track: T. Rex “Dandy in the Underworld”


2 Responses to “Autumn Rivulets”

  1. Matthew Says:

    I don’t know how to define it, but it is whatever this guy is doing:

  2. doomspirals Says:

    Yes, there are quite a few of those terrible antiquarian dills out there these days. But, of course, that’s not who we’re after!

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