I am rereading Charles Dickens's Bleak House and have to pass along his unforgettable description marking the entrance of Harold Skimpole. The description brought to mind, very favorably, the Sartorialist's photograph of Alan Flusser.
As background, it is often said that Dickens based his Skimpole character upon his acquaintance Leigh Hunt. One of the Romantics, Hunt's best personal friend was Percy Bysshe Shelley, and among his acquaintances were Jeremy Bentham, Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, Keats, Dickens, and even Nathaniel Hawthorne. In short, Leigh Hunt was someone to reckon with: he cut a dashing figure with his appearance, he was a brilliant conversationalist, and he created an unmatched name for himself as a youthful pertling by editing numerous English literary journals.
Here, then, is Skimpole/Hunt seen as he enters the story of Bleak House, bearing a remarkable resemblance, I think, to the brilliant Mr. Flusser:
"He was a little bright creature, with a rather large head; but a delicate face and a sweet voice, and there was a perfect charm in him. All he said was so free from effort and spontaneous and was said with such a captivating gaiety, that it was fascinating to hear him talk. . . . Indeed, he had more the appearance in all respects, of a damaged young man, than a well-preserved elderly one. There was an easy negligence in his manner, and even in his dress (his hair carelessly disposed, and his neck-kerchief loose and flowing, as I have seen artists paint their own portraits), which I could not separate from the idea of a romantic youth who had undergone some unique process of depreciation. . . . "