The People of Paris: An Essay in Popular Culture in the 18th Century
I fell in love with Paris when I first went there and walked the streets for hours. It wasn’t the Haussman boulevards or the Eiffel Tower that captured my imagination, beautiful as they are. Rather, it was the older quarters and hidden corners that fascinated me. I wanted to know who lived there and what their lives were like. When I got the chance to do a PhD, that’s what I chose. After years in the different Paris archives, I still never get tired of uncovering their secrets. I’ve written four books about Paris and have plans for more!
The sights, sounds, and smells of life on the streets and in the houses of eighteenth-century Paris rise from the pages of this marvelously anecdotal chronicle of a perpetually alluring city during one hundred years of extraordinary social and cultural change. An excellent general history as well as an innovative synthesis of new research, The Making of Revolutionary Paris combines vivid portraits of individual lives, accounts of social trends, and analyses of significant events as it explores the evolution of Parisian society during the eighteenth century and reveals the city's pivotal role in shaping the French Revolution.
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People have always smiled, right? Wrong. Jones shows that in the early 18th century, open mouths were considered repulsive, partly because most people had terrible teeth. He looks at dentistry in 18th-century Paris, at what the smile meant, at the reasons smiling became acceptable. But then it went out of fashion again, at least in public, until the 20th century. Brilliant.
The only first-hand account of life in Paris written by an artisan, matter-of-factly describing the city’s casual violence and bawdiness, the joys, and hardships, loves, and hatreds. Wonderfully translated, it captures a way of looking at the world that we’ve lost. But also the thoughtfulness of a largely self-educated man who is loyal to family and friends, rejects conventional religious belief, and supports the French Revolution.
Great on the opportunities and difficulties encountered by working women. Paris seamstresses had their own guild but struggled to maintain their autonomy. A lovely explanation of what they made, how the garment and fashion trade worked, and how individual seamstresses built careers in dressmaking, from apprenticeship to running their own business.
Animals were everywhere in eighteenth-century Paris: captives in menageries, pets in apartments, trained and displayed at fairs and in the streets, pitted against each other in bloody fights. Exotic parrots linked Paris to tropical Africa and the Americas. An entire guild sold only birds and small animals. Attitudes towards animals are extraordinarily revealing about any society, and this is a book full of insights.
We think you will like Life in Revolutionary France, French Revolution and the People, and The Women of Paris and Their French Revolution if you like this list.
From Christine's list on the French Revolution from a wide range of perspectives.
This new collection of essays by an international team of cutting-edge scholars allows readers to see how the French Revolution affected ordinary men and women, in Paris, the French provinces, and the French empire overseas. Treating a broad range of topics—from female activism to property, justice, medicine, food, material culture, childhood, religion, and war—these essays collectively paint a vivid picture of everyday life during this tumultuous period. Each essay is accompanied by a primary document from the time, which enables readers to see for themselves the kinds of sources on which historians rely in their work. Inspired by innovative historiographical approaches to spaces, emotions, and artifacts, Life in Revolutionary France paves the way for new research into the everyday experience of revolution.
From Peter's list on understanding the French Revolution.
The elation of the revolutionary months of May-October 1789 was soon replaced by fervent debate about whose revolution this was to be. This was a debate which involved people at every level of society across the new nation. How could the divergent hopes of middle-class politicians and officials, insurgent Parisians, and the divergent mass of the peasantry be reconciled? Others rejected the Revolution altogether. After 1792 the debate became deadly as a European coalition made war on France, often with the collaboration of internal counter-revolutionaries. David Andress has created a vivid and expert narrative of an unfolding struggle over the survival and meaning of the Revolution, with some surprising conclusions.
From Jeremy's list on the French Revolution and the ideals that inspired it.