By Miranda Gill
What did it suggest to name somebody 'eccentric' in nineteenth-century Paris? And why did breaking with conference arouse such ambivalent responses in middle-class readers, writers, and spectators? From excessive society to Bohemia and the demi-monde to the madhouse, the scandal of nonconformism provoked nervousness, disgust, and infrequently secre craving. In a tradition preoccupied by way of the necessity for order ye at the same time attracted to the values of freedom and innovation, eccentricity continuously demonstrated the bounds of bourgeois id, finally turning into inseparable from it. This interdisciplinary research charts moving French perceptions of the anomalous and peculiar from the 1830s to the fin de siècle, concentrating on 3 key matters. First, through the July Monarchy eccentricity was once associated with type dandyism, and commodity tradition; to many Parisians it epitomized the harmful seductions of modernity and the starting to be status of the courtesan. moment, within the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution eccentricity was once linked to the Bohemian artists and performers who inhabited 'the unknown Paris', a area of social exclusion which middle-class spectators discovered either interesting and repugnant. ultimately, the popularization of scientific theories of nationwide decline within the latter a part of the century ended in lowering tolerance for person distinction, and eccentricity used to be interpreted as a symptom of hidden madness and deformity. Drawing on quite a lot of assets, together with etiquette manuals, style magazines, newspapers, novels, and psychiatric treatises, the learn highlights the imperative position of gender in shaping perceptions of eccentricity. It presents new readings of works by means of significant French writers and illuminates either famous and ignored figures of Parisian modernity, from the courtesan and Bohemian to the feminine dandy and circus freak.