In: KulturPoetik 2014, Heft 2


Naomi Lubrich


Wie kleidet sich ein Künstler? Stendhal und das Paradox konventioneller Originalität




Red and Black was named after the colors of soldiers’ and clerics’ uniforms, as Stendhal famously explained, pointing to the importance of fashion for his protagonist’s career. Julien Sorel changes his clothes repeatedly, relying on several advisors to fulfil the requirements of 19th century fashion, namely, to be inventive, but within specified categories. Dandies brought the paradox of conventional originality to a climax, because they celebrated understatement while seeking to draw attention to minute details of dress. For Stendhal, dandy fashion finds its match in literary form, when Julien’s intellectual career doubles as a history of invention. But with Julien’s success – both sartorial and literary – a result of meticulous copying, citing, and plagiarizing, the concept of originality is less ›original‹ than perhaps imagined