Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Flower Beneath the Foot

Surely, if you're bothering to read this you know Ronald Firbank, the ür-aesthete. I couldn't pass up this quotation from his novel The Flower Beneath the Foot (1923): "Lying amid the dissolving bath crystals while his manservant deftly bathed him, he fell into a sort of coma, sweet as a religious trance. Beneath the rhythmic sponge, perfumed with Kiki, he was St Sebastian, and as the water became cloudier, and the crystals evaporated amid the steam, he was Teresa... " Contained in Firbank's caricature of some fellow sybarite, there's a definition of luxury, a definition which American advertising continues to leverage ... the attainable, unattainable life located as it were between absolute ascesis and utter excess.


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