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In an era obsessed with celebrity and glamour, sophistication' has come to be perceived as the most desirable of human qualities but it was not always so. In this fascinating book, Faye Hammill explores how a word that once meant falsification and perversion came to be regarded as signifying discrimination and refinement. Hammill provides a literary, linguistic and cultural route from the Romantics, via the emergence of the Dandy and then of Modernism, to that most sophisticated of figures, Noel Coward, and on to the meaning of sophistication in the twenty-first century. Ranging widely across historical documents, magazines, adverts, films and novels, this path-breaking book will be compulsory reading for sophisticates and scholars.