Dandys in Balzac's Oeuvre

Du 05 janvier 2010 au 03 avril 2010

Dandys in Balzac’s Oeuvre

05 January 2010 to 03 April 2010

In the Comedie Humaine, Balzac gives a singular sense to the notion of the dandy. The work offers a large range of dandy and describes their nature, expresses a wide nuance, and even outlines an evolution. The most typical figure, Henri de Marsay, character as impenetrable as he is inhuman, hardly evolves over the course of the text. A more complex character, Rastignac, appears in Le Pere Goriot sensitive and enthusiastic, before acquiring cynicism and cold indifference that hoists him up the line to minister and peer of France. Victurnien d'Es grignon arrives equally with plenty of illusions to Paris and there led a brilliant train, but the weakness of his character condemns him to return to Alençon. Lucien de Rubempré, too sensitive, fails and kills himself. The youngest dandy, La Palférine, appears as cynical and false as his older compatriots, but he distinguishes himself with his unawareness of money matters.

Beyond this diversity of characters and their behaviors, the balzacien dandy is characterized by the recoil he takes vis-à-vis society, his insensitivity around others, and the practice of idleness as an art. To these mental traits is added the elegance that rests evident -- since Brummel-- evoked by Balzac in his Traité de la vie élégante -- the most visible mark of a dandy. 

Accrochage organisé par : Véronique Prest

A découvrir durant l'exposition

Physionomie des modes par Gavarni
Canne aux singes ayant appartenu à Balzac