The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual--and the Modern Home Began

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Jul 1, 2009 - Architecture - 304 pages
Today, it is difficult to imagine a living room without a sofa. When the first sofas on record were delivered in seventeenth-century France, the result was a radical reinvention of interior space. Symptomatic of a new age of casualness and comfort, the sofa ushered in an era known as the golden age of conversation; as the first piece of furniture designed for two, it was also considered an invitation to seduction. With the sofa came many other changes in interior space we now take for granted: private bedrooms, bathrooms, and the original living rooms.
None of this could have happened without a colorful cast of visionaries-legendary architects, the first interior designers, and the women who shaped the tastes of two successive kings of France: Louis XIV's mistress Madame de Maintenon and Louis XV's mistress Madame de Pompadour. Their revolutionary ideas would have a direct influence on realms outside the home, from clothing to literature and gender relations, changing the way people lived and related to one another for the foreseeable future.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Meggo - LibraryThing

I have to confess, I never in a million years would have associated the court of Louis XV with the invention of the sofa. Extremely well researched, and surprisingly detailed, this book paints a fascinating picture of a piece of furniture many of us would take for granted. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NielsenGW - LibraryThing

Sometime in the late sixteenth century, architects and designers in Paris became increasingly interested in comfort and style. Out of this movement, came almost all of the modern versions of today's ... Read full review

Contents

The Age of Comfort
1
A Short History of Modern Comfort
22
An Architecture of Comfort
45
The Bathroom
67
The Flush Toilet
80
Heating
93
Easy Seats
102
Convenience Furniture
131
The Boudoir
178
Dressing for Comfort
186
The Fabric of Their Lives
205
The Comfortable Body
219
LArt de Vivre
229
Acknowledgments
238
Bibliography
265
Illustration Credits
275

1735 ArchitectDesigned Seating Begins
140
The Bedroom
165

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About the author (2009)

Joan DeJean is the author of nine books on French literature, history, and culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She is Trustee Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught for eighteen years. She divides her time between Philadelphia and Paris.

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