At the start of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway offers the following assessment of the mythic central figure, Jay Gatsby: ‘If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him’.1 In much the same way that Nick groups a complex array of specific moves and manners under the general heading ‘personality’, we often organize vast amounts of diverse information under the umbrella word ‘style’. With such a composite term, for instance, we might refer all at once to a person’s clothing, haircut, mode of speech, body language, and outlook on life. The statement ‘I like her style’ suggests a quality that ineffably transcends local particulars. It indicates an overarching Gestalt of various and often competing elements, a seemingly ‘unbroken series’ of acts, attitudes, and assumptions that attract our attention and appear — to use Nick’s phrasing — ‘gorgeous’.
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