Fashion and its Discontents

Donna T. Andrew and Randall McGowen

in The Perreaus and Mrs. Rudd

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220621
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923706 | DOI:
Fashion and its Discontents

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This chapter discusses the explanation to the fascination that the Perreaus-Rudd case elicited. It notes that the elite and near-elite were attracted for a combination of reasons: the suspects belonged to the fashionable world of London, and this fashionable world itself inspired deeply ambivalent feelings. It reports that commentary on the case mingled curiosity and moralizing, the two impulses at war with each other. It explains that the reading public, composed in large part of people like the Perreaus, of the middling ranks who were trying to better themselves, could see in this case a tragic and salacious parable of their lives and their aspirations. It points out that the case offered prurient glimpses into the lives of those who aspired to live in the bon ton, while confirming their anxieties about the dangers of rapid social advancement and the ends to which such longings might drive its votaries.

Keywords: Perreaus-Rudd case; elite; London; fashionable world; bon ton; social advancement; votaries

Chapter.  10225 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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