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The Perreaus and Mrs. RuddForgery and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century London$
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Donna Andrew

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520220621

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520220621.001.0001

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Fashion and its Discontents

Fashion and its Discontents

(p.112) Five Fashion and its Discontents
The Perreaus and Mrs. Rudd

Donna T. Andrew

Randall McGowen

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the explanation to the fascination that the Perreaus-Rudd case elicited. It notes that the elite and near-elite were attracted for a combination of reasons: the suspects belonged to the fashionable world of London, and this fashionable world itself inspired deeply ambivalent feelings. It reports that commentary on the case mingled curiosity and moralizing, the two impulses at war with each other. It explains that the reading public, composed in large part of people like the Perreaus, of the middling ranks who were trying to better themselves, could see in this case a tragic and salacious parable of their lives and their aspirations. It points out that the case offered prurient glimpses into the lives of those who aspired to live in the bon ton, while confirming their anxieties about the dangers of rapid social advancement and the ends to which such longings might drive its votaries.

Keywords:   Perreaus-Rudd case, elite, London, fashionable world, bon ton, social advancement, votaries

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