I was introduced to Lord Breaulove Whimsy and The Affected Provincial’s Companion by my friend, Chronographia von Strangehours. Chronographia, I am pleased to say, has agreed to write an upcoming book review for your enjoyment so you shall be making her acquaintance in greater detail shortly.
Quite frankly this is not my usual sort of read. But that is not to say I did not enjoy it as I most assuredly did! Please allow me to explain. I’m a nerd from way back, a Maker always, and most recently a Steampunk. Now, while I have been interested in Steampunk fiction since it’s inception in the early 1980’s, I haven’t self-identified as a Steampunk until much more recently. In fact, it’s only been in the past year or so that such a statement has even made sense!
Now, if one is to be a public Steampunk figure one must be comfortable in ones own skin. Moreover, you must be comfortable in a top hat, in public. That is where Lord Whimsy comes in. If you decide to pick up a copy of this elegant little book you will discover it contains a series of essays on living a life "as freely and beautifully as . . . modest circumstances will allow." With particular attention to the sartorial, Whismy gives advice on finding ones own unique style and attending to details such as pocket squares and boutonnières as well as avoiding such gauche mistakes in dress and comport as ‘sportswear’.
Further reading will bring you to "How to Become a Bon Vivant." A series of ‘Articles’ that should be de rigeur for any Steampunk venturing out in public. For example; Article I. To create oneself is to find oneself: Do not be afraid to change from the outside, in. Nearly everyone of note has done so. and to the more particular: Article III. Employ a trademark by which others might immediately know you–be it a hat, a cravat knot, or an epigram. A personal totem eases your way to notoriety, but don’t be too gimmicky about it (or do). And finally Article XXV. . . . the role of a bon vivant is to be an Ambassador of Paradise: a creature who strides in iambic pentameter. Be visible on the street for the sake of inspiring or amusing your fellow man. Through frivolity, sublimity! Become a shining beacon to the gray denizens of the ruined garden we call "life."
Moving on to other subjects of interest, we find essays on the practical:How to Ride a Highwheel. Or, the Exhilaration of Becoming a Kinetic Sculpture. The aesthetic: Diaphanism. Or, the Delight of Strolling Along the Tapering Edge of Being, this, I think, is a particularly important lesson for us Steampunks to understand as the Victorian aesthetic is so easily over blown! Finally, there is even a chapter on Onanism, entitled Oh, Sweet Release!
Sprinkled throughout are humor, poems, illustrations, and meta-physical diagrams that will further amuse and delight. Without meaning to demean it in any way, I suggest that this is the absolute ideal sort of book to place in the W.C. The individual reads are the perfect length and you will find yourself revisiting favorite passages and finding new insight again and again.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this "sunny-green tome" and I heartily recommend it!