Conversation was a polysemic practice of sociability in leisured and learned classes. Ideally, it cultivated politeness, pleasure, ease and reciprocity. At the same time, its plural meanings also accommodated tensions within the conversable world, encompassing controversy and collision of mind as well as harmony.
This entry describes conviviality as it was practised in the eighteenth century with distinctions between sociability and conviviality. It also describes the use of the term, and the specific rituals associated with convivial culture.
This entry explores the diverse uses of the language and concept of friendship in eighteenth-century Britain. Though obviously central to sociable thought and practice, friendship was also caught up in philosophical debates about the instrumentality of feeling and the nature of social obligation.
Gift-giving was an ubiquitous practice that fostered sociability by reflecting and strengthening the ties between individuals (and even nations) but was also potentially fraught and could provoke tensions and anxieties. The practice was thus culturally ambiguous, creating doubts about the motives and expectations of the giver and about the obligations of the receiver.
The juniper-flavoured spirit, gin, was highly popular in the eighteenth century. The ‘Gin Craze’ swept through the poorer districts of London in particular, leading to widespread concern that its deleterious effects on the health of the labouring classes could precipitate a national decline.
En abolissant la frontière de passage entre les différents peuples, l’hospitalité a pour but d’admettre l’autre temporairement dans son espace et de lui faire franchir le seuil de l’anonymat. Tel qu’on le verra dans les récits de voyage de James Cook et de Watkin Tench, elle est au dix-huitième siècle l’une des premières marques de l’accueil de l’altérité dans la relation entre Anglais et peuples autochtones.