Manners & morals December 2013
Glamour’s false charm
On glamour’s conflict with reality and the deception of nostalgia.
One of the best descriptions of glamour isn’t a description of glamour at all. In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’s dark and stormy novel, Catherine Earnshaw explains to her maid Nelly the intense hold her dreams have over her: “I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.”
Like Earnshaw’s dreams, glamour colors the way we see the world and changes how we want to experience it. The promise it offers—an escape from the ordinary business of life, communion with beauty, and transcendence—is intoxicating. But it is also dangerous and deceitful. Glamour glosses over reality and presents a picture of how life ought to be. When we try to collect on its false...
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