Social climbers a la Dickens

Here he is, or they are as minor characters in Our Mutual Friend:

  • Mr and Mrs Veneering – a nouveaux-riches husband and wife whose main preoccupation is to advance in the social world. They invite influential people to their dinner parties where their furniture gleams with a sheen that they also put on to make themselves seem more impressive.
  • They “wear” their acquaintances, their possessions, and their wealth like jewellery [sic], in an attempt to impress those around them. Veneering eventually goes bankrupt and they retire to France to live on the jewels he bought for his wife.

Met them — for the first time, alas! — in Wm. H. Pritchard’s Wyndham Lewis, Twayne, 1968, in Pritchard’s discussion of Lewis’s non-moralistic brand of satire, in which he depicts human types while standing apart, as it were, making a larger point about how people act — or so I understand it for now, in confidence that there’s more to it than that.

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