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Female dandy

Related: dandy - femme fatale - demimondaine - vamp - women - diva

Woman is the opposite of the dandy.
Therefore she inspires horror. --Charles Baudelaire

La Calavera Catrina (before 1913) - Jose Guadalupe Posada, frequently dubbed in English as the female dandy

The term dandy was first attested in the English language c.1780.


The female equivalents of dandies could be found in the demi-monde, in figures such as the extravagant courtesan Cora Pearl. The marchesa Luisa Casati followed a dandy's career in Venice after World War I. The diva might also be considered a female dandy. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandy#Female_Dandies [Jul 2006]

The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901) - Lucas Malet

The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901), among the most famous and controversial novels of the turn of the century, was written by Lucas Malet (Mary St Leger Kingsley Harrison). The novel includes sexually explicit material made possible only by Malet's strategic use of a highly wrought aesthetic discourse. It traces the psychological development of a disabled man as he moves from profound self-hatred towards slow acceptance. Sir Richard Calmady is also remarkable for its female characters, including Richard's cousin, Helen de Vallorbes. Helen is a manipulative, narcissistic, and sexually voracious female dandy. After his affair with Helen, Richard reforms and ultimately marries another cousin, Honoria St. Quentin. Honoria, however, is a New Woman, a lesbian feminist socialist activist, and the marriage clearly perpetuates rather than resolves the erotic investments of its main characters. In its experimental style, psychological development, and complex discourse, Sir Richard Calmady is a groundbreaking novel. --http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=595 [Dec 2004]

Princess Napraxine (1884) - Ouida

Princess Napraxine (1884) is perhaps the most ambitious novel by Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée). Nadine Napraxine is a “mondaine”, a female dandy of exquisite taste, cutting wit, boundless wealth, and exceptional beauty, who heartlessly manipulates others. Her admirer Othmar, frustrated by her coldness, decides to marry the innocent peasant Yseulte de Valogne, reasoning that he can at least make a deserving waif happy. However, Yseulte discovers Othmar's miserable obsession with Princess Napraxine. She kills herself to free him – a sacrifice that taints his “freedom” forever. The novel interrogates the “ingenue” role by acknowledging Yseulte's charms but condemning her naïvete and stupidity. Yet Ouida finds the “mondaine” alternative problematic; Princess Napraxine is brilliant but too amoral and jaded for her own good. Ranging these figures against each other allowed Ouida to condemn the angel in the house and to imagine a new and devastatingly powerful alternative type of female behaviour. --http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2578 [Dec 2004]

Marlene Dietrich as the definitive female dandy

I'd have to take issue with several of your choices. 'Dandy' does not mean, as is often thought, simple sartorial extravagancy. Rather it's a sort of flamboyant understatement - something that surely doesn't apply to the likes of Prince. A blend of funereal chic, sang froid and witty snobbishness perhaps?... Several influential theorists of the cult of dandyism - notably Baudelaire - even maintained that there could be no such thing as a female dandy. I'm not so sure - there's a good case for Marlene Dietrich as the definitive female dandy. --http://www.livejournal.com/users/decadentscholar/6417.html [Dec 2004]

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