In: KulturPoetik 2009, Heft 1


Axel Fliethmann


Dandy-Diskurs. Zwischen literarischer Figur und historischer Person




This article analyses four paradoxes and basic distinctions responsible for the patterns which define the discourse of the dandy. First, the dandy seems to be both a literary and a historical figure, undecided as to which; second, the dandy is to be perceived as an eccentric individual but one who reflects his position in society; third, the dandy is a figure often characterized by a rhetoric of vision, but that rhetoric is construed against the aesthetic tradition based on the paradigm of semantic transparency; and fourth, the dandy is a difficult figure for philology to reconstruct biographically since we cannot be sure whether (or not) we are dealing with a realistic or a fictional account of the dandy. Finally these ambivalences are tested against Baudelaire’s essay on the dandy.