You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
February 8, 2004
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· My Unfashionably "Carlylean" Take on Sartorial Elegance ·
Today's post isn't much likely, I'm afraid, to mend that omission. If you saw me here — now an aging graduate of Red Green's School of Fashion Design, West Campus — you'd laugh at my sad threads. Imagine a pair of woolen Acorns warming my feet, a Bangladeshi-stitched Forest Trails shirt over my shoulders, a Canadian-knit KellySport fleece vest under that, and a ratty REI turtleneck under my old, "locally fashionable" Pendleton plaid. I mean, apart from chilly fishermen on peninsular rivers hereabouts, I warm to the idea of sartorial splendor about as well as steelhead do to frozen bait. You can see why I was rejected at Red's U.S. campus near Brainerd (a bit north of Garrison Keillor's wonderfully idyllic Lake Wobegone), Minnesota.
Well, I got to thinking today about my unfashionable handicaps, especially inasmuch as Friedrich Nietzsche once observed — on the philosophical subject of clothing — how even Adam and Eve's threads can bear metaphorically upon language. Now that got my attention.
Now Nietzsche is too much given here to brevity to weave what, Platonically speaking, seems the pattern likely to make his very threads fashionable. So I got to hunting about in my library for a non-Nietzschean model, when suddenly I spied Thomas Carlyle. Of course, I know he's not in style today, and I know his book Sartor Resartus is to California's Rodeo Drive what Red's design school is to New York's Fashion Institute — "The Tailor, Retailored" — yet Professor Teufelsdröckh's text might serve as one likely original of Nietzsche's thought (composed, ironically enough, in the quaint old German university town of Weissnichtwo).
I should note before literally heading out the door now to a steelhead dinner at my son's, how in Thomas Carlyle's own editorial analysis of Teufelsdröckh's style, Carlyle rightly marks — "as in my own case," too — yet another difference. Please, at quote's end, do at least fill in the blank with one of your own choosing.
"Und so weiter," Nietzsche would add.Permalink
Please define "cultivated."
Being long dead, poor Thomas Carlyle can't speak for himself now, though his remains might direct you — via Teufelsdröckh — to old Tacitus. His famous Histories suggest "being full of wit" stylistically. But as that's "too metaphorical," I'd maybe point you to the search engine at Agricola (where you'll find a more ground-breaking, Germanic thoroughness).
Ah, cultivation in the true sense! Here below the Mason-Dixon line, where farmers now begin to disc and harrow fields for spring planting, it's good to know that we wordsmiths may share in that springtime tradition!
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Figures & Tropes
Grammar & Syntax