The Style Bible

Honoré de Balzac: A Treatise on Elegant Living

The turn of the 19th century was a period of great change for Western Europe, encompassing revolutions political and sartorial. It was against this background that the novelist Honoré de Balzac wrote A Treatise on Elegant Living. Predating scandalous poet Charles Baudelaire’s essay “The Dandy” by decades, the work set out to define a man whose refined intellectualism was reflected both in his speech and his immaculate personal appearance. Now translated into English for the first time courtesy of independent publishers Wakefield Press, the tome issues instructions on dandyism via a series of waspish aphorisms such as: “A rip is a misfortune, a stain is a vice.” Naturally, it’s essential reading for any serious man-about-town.

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