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Fashioning the Nineteenth Century

Habits of Being 3

2014

Cristina Giorcelli and Paula Rabinowitz, Editors

Fashioning the Nineteenth Century

How fashion in nineteenth-century art, literature, and life came to define—and defy—class

In nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, fashion—once the province of the well-to-do—began to make its way across class lines. Fashioning the Nineteenth Century shows how certain items of apparel acquired the status of fashion and how fashion shifted from the realm of the elites into the emerging middle and working classes—and back.

In nineteenth-century Europe and the United States, fashion—once the province of the well-to-do—began to make its way across class lines. At once a democratizing influence and a means of maintaining distinctions, gaps in time remained between what the upper classes wore and what the lower classes later copied. And toward the end of the century, style also moved from the streets to the parlor. The third in a four-part series charting the social, cultural, and political expression of clothing, dress, and accessories, Fashioning the Nineteenth Century focuses on this transformative period in an effort to show how certain items of apparel acquired the status of fashion and how fashion shifted from the realm of the elites into the emerging middle and working classes—and back.

The contributors to this volume are leading scholars from France, Italy, and the United States, as well as a practicing psychoanalyst and artists working in fashion and with textiles. Whether considering girls’ school uniforms in provincial Italy, widows’ mourning caps in Victorian novels, Charlie’s varying dress in Kate Chopin’s eponymous story, or the language of clothing in Henry James, the essays reveal how changes in ideals of the body and its adornment, in classes and nations, created what we now understand to be the imperatives of fashion.

Contributors: Dagni Bredesen, Eastern Illinois U; Carmela Covato, U of Rome Three; Agnès Derail-Imbert, École Normale Supérieure/VALE U of Paris, Sorbonne; Clair Hughes, International Christian University of Tokyo; Bianca Iaccarino Idelson; Beryl Korot; Anna Masotti; Bruno Monfort, Université of Paris, Ouest Nanterre La Défense; Giuseppe Nori, U of Macerata, Italy; Marta Savini, U of Rome Three; Anna Scacchi, U of Padua; Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, U of Michigan.

Fashioning the Nineteenth Century

Cristina Giorcelli is professor of American literature at the University of Rome Three.

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota.

Fashioning the Nineteenth Century

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Clothing, Dress, Fashion: An Arcade

Introduction: Fashioning a Century

Cristina Giorcelli
1. Psychoanalytic Views of Cross-Dressing and Transvestism
Bianca Iaccarino Idelson
2. Our Job Is to Create Beauty: A Personal Memoir of La Perla
Anna Masotti
3. Modernity Clothing: Birthing the Modern Atlantic/Birthing the Modern Republic
Carroll Smith-Rosenberg
4. Garment of the Unseen: The Philosophy of Clothes in Carlyle and Emerson
Giuseppe Nori
5. An Emblem of All the Rest: Wearing the Widow’s Cap in Victorian Literature
Dagni Bredesen
6. Clothing the Marmorean Flock: Sartorial Historicism and The Marble Faun
Bruno Monfort
7. Florence
Beryl Korot
8. Accessories to the Crime in What Maisie Knew
Clair Hughes
9. Costume and Form: D’Annunzio and Mutable Appearances
Marta Savini
10. Shawls Redefine Womanhood in American Literature, 1850s-1920s
Anna Scacchi
11. A Lovely Little Coffee-Colored Dress: Education, Female Identity, and Dress at the End of the Nineteenth Century
Carmela Covato
12. Gender and Power: Dressing “Charlie”
Cristina Giorcelli
13. Imaginative Habits: Fantasies of Undressing in The Ambassadors
Agnès Derail-Imbert
Coda: Seen and Obscene
Paula Rabinowitz

Contributors