Wednesday, 21 October 2009

And now for something completely different.

Lately I've been on a Georgian kick. As an art history major, I tend to see every period of history through that lens, and thus have never been very excited by Georgian/Regency stuff. No offense to some of the truly inspired portraiture of the times, but, yeah. Not so much with the soul-stirring art, really. Lots of very pretty fluff.

Despite that, I find myself completely drawn into the period because of all the fascinating hypocrisy, mostly. The Whig aristocracy, so fervently in favor of the American Revolution and then the French one, up until the wholesale slaughter of their French friends and relations started... The dangerously blurred line between the fashionable touchy-feely affection of female friendship and the accusation of "unnatural vice..." So many bastard children raised under the wrong name, with no Maury Povich to clear things up... Illegal marriages to commoners, loveless marriages for titles and land, keeping actresses, George III's maladies and recoveries... it's all too much fun.

I love the idea of titled nobility in their outrageous blue & buff fashions, in vociferous sympathy with the rebel Americans against the king. Such wonderful, ridiculous politics and schisms, and such utterly fabulous characters. Georgiana, Fox, Prinny, all these people that were so larger than life and still so very, painfully human.

I long to hear as accurate an approximation as possible of the "Devonshire Drawl," the mixture of patois, speech impediment, and baby talk that was ever so fashionable. From what I can gather in print, it sounds dreadful, and I venture the hypothesis that the lisping & pronouncing Rs as Ws that makes me cringe in so many present day posh-as-hell English people is a holdover from that.

And the gambling!!! Oh god, the gambling. The debts, the losses, the outright addiction. Scandal, libel, rumor, intrigue, all my favorite things.

So much of what I, as an uncouth, savage American think of as particularly English came from this period. I've only just dipped my toes, but I feel a long obsession coming on.

No comments:

Post a Comment