The Digital Encyclopedia of British Sociability in the Long Eighteenth Century

Explore the wide range of topics related to British sociability from 1650 to 1850 and discover how the circulation of models of sociability shaped European and colonial societies.

The Project

An innovative tool and an interdisciplinary approach

  • An open-access digital encyclopedia with a multi-modal search engine
  • An international and interdisciplinary project led by the GIS Sociabilités / Sociability since 2017
  • An EU-funded project (Horizon 2020-MSCA-RISE) since 2019, promoting staff exchange and intersectoral collaborations
  • A digital humanities project managed by an experienced editorial team
  • Encyclopedia entries written in English or French by eighteenth-century scholars in various fields (history, art history, literature, philosophy, material culture, linguistics ...) and reviewed by a dedicated committee
  • A complementary anthology of texts related to various aspects of sociability and connected to the entries

Find out more

Bringing academic research on eighteenth-century sociability to a wider audience

  • Explore the wide range of topics related to British Sociability from 1650 to 1850 and learn about the circulation of models of sociability that shaped European and colonial societies.
  • Discover the collaborative work between academic researchers on primary source material in their respective fields of expertise
  • Browse through 200 entries enriched with illustrations, hyperlinks, footnotes and further reading suggestions
  • Search by keywords, by alphabetical order or by categories (People, Places, Practices, Concepts, Objects) and sub-categories
  • Navigate easily through a dynamic and updatable resource
  • Share content with online media and social networks

Latest entries



Spa towns encompass various sizes and categories in eighteenth-century Britain. The role of health and medicine pervades social interactions in spa towns which abounded in urban spaces dedicated to sociability: the pump-room, the assembly rooms, the walks villas and salons.


Gentlemanliness was a contested quality in eighteenth-century Britain. During the century, the term broadened away from men of lineage to encompass the rising middling sort. One criterion used to define these ‘new’ gentlemen’ was sociability, but this was a sociability that now had to conform to other qualities making the new gentlemen: industriousness, sincerity, honesty, benevolence. Lord Chesterfield's instructions to his son on the art of pleasing were now regarded as superficial, corrupting. This entry considers this shift in gentlemanly sociability which intersects with many other entries in DIGIT.EN.S.
Concepts Practices

John Keats

When the second-generation Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821) – best known today for his ‘Great Odes’ and for coining the term ‘Negative Capability’ – died in Rome, at the age of 25, he may have been penniless, but he was certainly not friendless. Although his work received little public recognition during his lifetime, his close circle of friends in England strove to defend his genius and preserve his memory for posterity. Friendship was always central to Keats’s life; his poetry and letters attest to a vitally social existence, and to the lasting influence of London literary coteries on his development as a poet and thinker.


As part of its H2020 programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (MSCA-RISE-2018)), the European Commission has granted significant financial support to DIGITENS, the flagship project of the Scientific Interest Grouping (GIS) “Sociabilités/Sociability”.


Latest News

DIGITENS closing conference: Sociabilities on the Move in the Long Eighteenth Century (1650-1850)

December 8th 2022
International conference organized by the GIS Sociabilités/Sociability and the research center HCTI in the framework of the H2020 DIGITENS project. Brest, 8 - 9 December 2022

Sports and Sociability in the Long Eighteenth Century

October 13th 2022
International conference organized by Caroline Bertonèche (Université Grenoble Alpes) and Alexis Tadié (Sorbonne University) in the framework of the H2020 DIGITENS project. Sorbonne Université, 13-14 October 2022.

Levantine Sociabilities in Europe in Giacomo Casanova’s time: Spies, Impostors, Courtesans and Men of Culture

September 22nd 2022
International conference organized within the framework of the EU project DIGITENS and in partnership with the GIS SOCIABILITÉS/SOCIABILITY Chieti-Pescara (Italy), 22 & 23 September, 2022