A Taste for Comfort and Status: A Bourgeois Family in Eighteenth-Century France

Front Cover
Penn State Press, Jan 1, 1999 - History - 304 pages
0 Reviews

The Lamothes were an ordinary family in eighteenth-century Bordeaux. Well-to-do and well respected by their neighbors, they were local notables whose private and public lives suggest the importance of family, kin, and friendship networks, professional activities and cultural interests, as well as a desire to serve the public good. In this portrait of the Lamothes, Christine Adams explores the development of middle-class identity among urban professionals and reconsiders the role of this social group in the coming French Revolution.

The most striking feature of this family history is that it is based on more than three hundred personal letters that circulated among the Lamothes&—parents and seven siblings&—over a period of twenty-five years. Such a collection is rare for this period, and Adams makes the most of it. Her study lends remarkable texture to provincial middle-class life. She weaves these letters into every aspect of the Lamothes' experience&—professional, literary, intellectual, social, and civic. She demonstrates a sustained mobilization of all family skills and resources to maintain the status of the males of the family and preserve (rather than risk) the family's emotional and material stability.

While their conservative lifestyle suggests that the Lamothes were not &"revolutionary,&" they were, nonetheless, part of the bourgeoisie. Adams thus taps into a potent debate about middle-class consciousness and identity in the eighteenth century, arguing against those historians who doubt that such a social class existed in France before 1789.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

IDENTITY THROUGH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
15
Management of the Family Fortune
51
Kin and Friends
87
IDENTITY THROUGH PROFESSION
113
The Professional Identity of the Physician
153
IDENTITY THROUGH CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
189
The Cultural Life of the Lamothe Brothers
221
Conclusion
257
Bibliography
269
Index
285
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Christine Adams is Assistant Professor of History at St. Mary's College of Maryland. She co-edited, with Jack R. Censer and Lisa Jane Graham, Visions and Revisions of Eighteenth-Century France (Penn State, 1997).

Bibliographic information