Abstract or Introduction
The year 1987 – Ronald Reagan is president of the United States, Huey Lewis and Madonna dominate the charts, and the sleeves of salmon pink sport coats need to be rolled-up. The epicenter of fashion, beauty and power is situated in the financial sector, or more precisely, on Wall Street. To survive in this shark tank, you have to be a predator, and if anyone exemplifies this instinct, it is Patrick Bateman from Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho and Mary Harron’s same-named movie adaptation, which I will mostly refer to. His life revolves around the accumulation of status symbols and the exploitation of other people with the goal of being part of Manhattan’s high society. Interestingly, the characteristics of this fictional character reflect a real-life historical figure, building a bridge between 1980s New York and the English court of the early 1800s. Ultimately, as this paper demonstrates, Patrick Bateman is a stylized version of George “Beau” Brummell, the father of dandyism.
Both the dandy’s “highly stylized, painstakingly constructed self” (Garelick) and his concealed true self have much in common with the psychological profile of a modern psychopath. As such, Brummell provides the perfect model for the protagonist of American Psycho, who early in the film states, “[t]here is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory” (Harron). The more disturbing one’s dark inner personality, the more impenetrable the public image. Bateman is a master of sustaining such a façade, and so was Brummell.
- Quote paper
- Yannick Brauner (Author), 2017, From the English Court to Wall Street. "American Psycho" and the Legacy of Beau Brummell, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/375791