A Polite and Enlightened London?
Carr, R. 2016. A Polite and Enlightened London? The Historical Journal. 59 (02), pp. 623-634. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X16000042
The character of eighteenth-century English society remains a subject of debate, and diverse perspectives are particularly pronounced when it comes to the cultural influence and power of politeness. The monographs discussed below all engage with politeness in different ways. Emma Major and Sarah Apetrei explore the means by which polite culture facilitated female cultural agency, and thus follow Lawrence Klein's call to comprehend the lived experience of politeness. Taking a different tack, Simon Dickie and Vic Gatrell reject the idea that politeness enjoyed the cultural dominance ascribed to it by Klein and other historians. In Ildiko Csengei's study, the narrative of an emergent civility is challenged through an analysis of sensibility's ‘darker side’. This move towards an acceptance of the power of the impolite in British culture is also explored by Faramerz Dabhoiwala, who emphasizes the power of the liberated male libertine, and broadens the scope for understanding eighteenth-century culture. Yet, an abandonment of politeness risks removing women's agency from the picture, with Major, Apetrei, and Karen O'Brien all emphasizing the importance of the feminine to politeness and virtue; in O'Brien's case, in the context of Enlightenment concepts of civility, where the feminine symbolized progress and refinement.
|Journal||The Historical Journal|
|Journal citation||59 (02), pp. 623-634|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X16000042|
|Web address (URL)||https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X16000042|
|17 Mar 2016|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||12 Sep 2017|
|Copyright information||© 2016 Cambridge University Press|
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