Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Line Of Beauty: Alan Hollinghurst

The line of beauty- so named by William Hogarth, least rococo of rococo painters- is the double curve or ogee. Hogarth cared about it so much he wrote a book about it. Odd that it should be him. Look at his subject matter- rakes en route for Bedlam, cruel apprentices en route for Tyburn- and beauty seems to be almost the last thing he's after.

But that's just the surface. Look deeper, at the inner structure, the bones of the thing. His silly, hateful people fall into lovely patterns- as do Hollinghurst's.

Up and down- the switchback pattern of moods and epochs. Of the cocaine high.  Of economies.

We're watching the 1980s pass from inside the household of a Thatcherite MP, through the eyes of a Jamesian outsider and aesthete- or parasite if you prefer. If you know your history you sort of know what's coming.

The upward curve, the downward curve.

So pretty, so graceful, so right.
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