Table Settings : The Material Cultural and Social Context of Dining, Ad 1700-1900 (Hardcover)

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This book considers the changes that occurred in dining habits in Britain and the colonial world during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this period early modern social habits were transformed, as manufacturing techniques improved and the output of mass-produced items increased, creating the first modern consumer society. The period also saw widespread acceptance of the fork, as well as an increased range of public eating, due to increasing material wealth and the rise of the middle class. The papers here examine the ways in which the Victorian pre-occupation with material goods and status influenced dining rituals all over the British colonial world, with case studies looking into the use of feasting as a way of reinforcing social power and spreading respectability.


Publisher David Brown Book Co
Mfg Part# 9781842172988
SKU 206456183
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 1842172980
Release Date 2/1/2011
Dimensions (in Inches) 11H x 8.5L x 0.6T
From the Publisher
Editors Note Fernand Braudel famously observed that the 'mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization'. The way that food is prepared, served, and eaten reveals a great deal about the structure and workings of any society. It is therefore not surprising that food, and the culturally specific etiquettes and equipment that surround the act of eating have been studied by scholars from a wide range of disciplines. The papers in this volume consider the changes that occurred in Old and New World dining and related culinary activities between the 17th century and the early 20th century. This period saw the widespread acceptance of the fork in dining and the adoption of routinized etiquettes to govern eating. In the 18th century the rise of individualism ushered in new forms of segmented dining based upon symmetrically arranged tables and individual place settings. Against this backdrop of manufactured uniformity, made possible by advances in industrial production, highly stylized dining rituals and haute cuisine , which had previously been the exclusive domain of European courtly elites, entered the homes and routines of the 'middling sort'. Henceforth, material expressions of status and social identity became commonplace at the table, and an integral part of dining in all but the humblest homes. The unique contribution of this volume lies in the way in which a distinguished group of international historical archaeologists have combined the richness of primary archaeological evidence with a wealth of documentary evidence to create insightful new material histories of dining. The new light which this throws upon manufacturing processes, feasting rituals, the rise of respectability, the inter-continental spread of the Victorian cult of domesticity, and foodways among peripheral agricultural communities will be of interest to scholars beyond archaeology, in the cognate fields of anthropology, social and economic history, cultural geography, and material culture studies.
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