Professor, British History and Civilisation
Université Rennes 2
Eighteenth-century British social and cultural history; British clubs and societies; cultural transfers; elites and networks; British Atlantic sociabilities.
David Hume was a central figure of the Scottish Enlightenment and an active participant in European networks. He believed in the power of sociability, in the fundamental human connections. Sociability is key to understanding the process which made of him both a central and a marginal figure.
The betting book is the material expression of the sociable practice of betting, which became fashionable as part of the gambling culture of eighteenth-century Britain. More than a simple book used for recording the wagers made by a select company of clubmen or college fellows, the betting book provides a snapshot of a complex recreational practice that not only promoted social interaction and gentlemanly conviviality, but also challenged sociability and friendship.
From the Restoration to the first decade of the Victorian era, gaming and gambling spread through all ranks of society and became favourite pastimes for men and women alike. Gaming usually applies to games of chance, while gambling is found in games involving skills such as card games, tennis or wagers on sports.
St James’s refers to an urban area located in what we know as the West End of London, more precisely in the district of Westminster.