The World of the Salons: Sociability and Worldliness in Eighteenth-Century Paris

Hardcover | January 16, 2015

byAntoine Lilti

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The world of the eighteenth-century salon has long been lauded as a meritocratic setting where writers, philosophers, and women created the Enlightenment. In The World of the Salons, historian Antoine Lilti proposes a fresh interpretation of salons in eighteenth-century Paris. Drawing oncultural history, social history, and the history of literature, he challenges the commonly accepted vision of salons as literary circles that were part of the Republic of Letters. Lilti argues, instead, that salons were institutions of worldly sociability that helped shape "the world" (le monde) and high society. They were essential places where the aristocratic elites of the capital met and interacted with literary figures. Attending them required a mastery of the codes ofpolite conversation. There news circulated and personal reputations were made and lost. As opposed to the salon being a realm separate from the court at Versailles, it was a site where elites gained enough influence to forge marital alliances, secure government appointments or pensions, and win overroyal censors. These discussion circles were part of refined society, not public opinion, and those writers who gained mass appeal were shunned by salon-goers.For those who think they know what the salon meant in early modern European culture, politics, and intellectual circles, Antoine Lilti's The World of the Salons offers an important corrective of what went on behind the closed doors of the French salons.

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The world of the eighteenth-century salon has long been lauded as a meritocratic setting where writers, philosophers, and women created the Enlightenment. In The World of the Salons, historian Antoine Lilti proposes a fresh interpretation of salons in eighteenth-century Paris. Drawing oncultural history, social history, and the history...

Antoine Lilti teaches social and cultural history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and is former editor of the Annales journal. He is the author of Figures publiques : l'invention de la celebrite (1750-1850) and co-editor of Penser l'Europe au XVIIIe siecle: commerce, civilisation, empire.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9.21 × 6.5 × 1.3 inPublished:January 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199772347

ISBN - 13:9780199772346

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart I: From the Salon to the World: Sociability and Distinction1. Sociability and Hospitality2. The Worldly Sphere3. Men of Letters and WorldlinessPart II: News and Opinion: The Politics of High Society4. Word Games: Literature and Sociability5. Society's Judgment and Worldly Opinion6. Politics in the SalonConclusionAppendixNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Antoine Lilti's Le Monde des salons is the most thorough and important study of eighteenth-century French salons to date. Methodologically sophisticated, it distinguishes between how contemporaries talked about salons and what actually took place in them. In doing so, it explodes severalmyths. First, it puts the lie to recent interpretations that have depicted salons as crucibles of modern egalitarianism - places where social hierarchy gave way to polite, enlightened conversation among equals. Second, Lilti shatters the image of salons as literary founts of enlightenment. Third,Lilti challenges the Tocquevillian notion that salons were sites for the elaboration of abstract literary politics and oppositional public opinion. Far from providing naive, disempowered philosophes a place to concoct seditious ideologies, salons were where savvy socialites bolstered their social,cultural, and political capital." --Charles Walton, University of Warwick