The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

The Dandy

Living reference work entry



The dandy and dandyism form a distinctive feature of nineteenth century urban life in London and Paris especially, but throughout Europe generally including St. Petersburg. Writing about the phenomenon of dandyism in “The Painter of Modern Life,” Baudelaire thought the dandy had a burning desire “to create a personal form of originality, within the external limits of social conventions” (Baudelaire 1972: 420), a figure representing the “last flicker of heroism in decadent ages” (421). He defines the dandy-type as one of those beings who “have no other status but that of cultivating the idea of beauty in their own persons, of satisfying their passions, of feeling and thinking. Thus they possess… both time and money without which fantasy, reduced to the state of ephemeral reveries, can scarcely be translated into...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK