Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is a lifestyle guide for the Francophile and the Anglomaniac, the gourmet and the style maven, the armchair traveler and the art lover. It’s an homage to the esoteric world of glamour that doesn’t require much spending but makes us feel rich.
Taking a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the sixteenth century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, Jessica Kerwin Jenkins’s Encyclopedia of the Exquisite focuses on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace, and the delightful. A compendium of style, it merges whimsy and practicality, traipsing through the fine arts and the worlds of fashion, food, travel, home, garden, and beauty.
Each entry features several engaging anecdotes, illuminating the curious past of each enduring source of beauty. Subjects covered include the explosive history of champagne; the art of lounging on a divan; the emergence of “frillies,” the first lacy, racy lingerie; the ancient uses of sweet-smelling saffron; the wild riot incited by the appearance of London’s first top hat; Julia Child’s tip for cooking the perfect omelet; the polarizing practice of wearing red lipstick during World War II; Louis XIV’s fondness for the luscious Bartlett pear; the Indian origin of badminton; Parliament’s 1650 attempt to suppress Europe’s beauty mark fad; the evolution of the Japanese kimono; the pilgrimage of Central Park’s Egyptian obelisk; and the fanciful thrill of dining alfresco.
Cleverly illustrated, Encyclopedia of the Exquisite is an ode to life’s plenty, from the extravagant to the eccentric. It is a celebration of luxury that doesn’t necessarily require money.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights|
|Release Date: 11-02-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Nan A. Talese|
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Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights
The art of hot-air ballooning
By 6 A.M. carriages blocked the road from Paris to Versailles, where a fire raged in the château's courtyard one September morning in 1783. Black smoke funneled into a heaving aerostatic machine, the bulk of it painted blue with gold curlicues. The hot-air balloon, as it is now known, was slowly swelling and coming to life.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette stood by. People crowded the streets watching the sky. Spectators climbed onto nearby rooftops and filled every window of the château, as attendants placed a trio of passengers into the balloon's basket-a duck, a sheep, and a rooster, history's first aeronauts. Up they went, drifting for eight minutes before sinking into the woods, where a recovery crew on horseback raced to find them. Dazed, but otherwise unharmed, the pilgrims were presented to the king, who was so pleased he promptly ordered the creatures cooked for his dinner.
The balloon, invented by the enterprising French brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810) and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier (1745-1799), was inspired, Joseph claimed, by seeing Madame Montgolfier's chemise fluttering as it dried near the fire. A month after the first flight, it was the first contraption to ferry humans into the "aerian ocean," when the twenty-six-year-old daredevil Pilâtre de Rozier (1754-1785) rose to a height of eighty feet in a Montgolfier balloon held in place by ropes.
Still, no one had flown untethered. The king had decreed that only a condemned inmate could fly freely, in exchange for a pardon. But, working his connections at court, de Rozier convinced King Louis that aerostation was safe, and Louis watched fr...