Contents

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pp. -

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-

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Introduction

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pp. 1-44

There is a certain quality, easy to perceive but hard to define, possessed by abnormally interesting people. Call it "it." For the sake of clarity, let it, as a pronoun aspiring to the condition of a noun, be capitalized hereafter, except where it appears in its ordinary pronominal role....

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1. Accessories

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pp. 45-81

Can only the dead astonish us by seeming "lifelike"? Perhaps even the living can induce this uncanny effect from time to time. Of the eighteen royal funeral effigies in the Norman Undercroft at Westminster Abbey, the one to which the Prince of Wales's description most obviously refers belongs to his predecessor and namesake Charles II, the "Dear Good King" of Elinor Glyn's Tory childhood...

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2. Clothes

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pp. 82-116

Posterity interprets the lives of notables in the long eighteenth century in many different and sometimes contentious ways, but everyone can agree that they wore fabulous clothes. Men shared fully in the glamorous bounty, for most of the period falls before the full imposition of what one influential fashion historian has called "the Great Masculine Renunciation.'"1...

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3. Hair

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pp. 117-145

In the experience of the It-Effect, which "gives us back the Image of our Mind," hair can exert a magical power even greater than that of accessories and clothes, in part because it functions as both simultaneously. Since hair belongs (or at least appears to belong) to the body of the person who wears it, an anomaly such as an obvious wig or implausible bouffant provides a locally crowning self-assertion...

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4. Skin

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pp. 146-173

Sarah Siddons cared for her skin. According to her own account of her final sitting for Sir Joshua Reynolds, she intervened when he started to put the finishing touches on her portrait as The Tragic Muse and prevented him from applying a wash of color to her face and neck. Her purpose, like her complexion, was clear. As he daubed his brush ...

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5. Flesh

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pp. 174-204

Wax looks and even feels like flesh; but more creepily still, not exactly like flesh. Such an unnerving category crisis ("it's just like chicken") makes every wax museum fascinating and repulsive by degrees. So it was with the effigies in the Abbey. Once known facetiously in their decaying oaken versions as the "Ragged Regiment"...

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6. Bone

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pp. 205-231

On the afternoon of Shrove Tuesday, February 23,1669, Samuel Pepys violated the corpse of Katherine of France, Henry V's queen. He records in his Diary entry for that day, his birthday, how he came to be touring Westminster Abbey with members of his family. He and Mrs. Pepys were entertaining out-of-town cousins,..

Notes

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pp. 233-250

Index

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pp. 251-260