British Sociability in the European Enlightenment: Cultural Practices and Personal Encounters

Sebastian Domsch & Mascha Hansen (eds.), British Sociability in the European Enlightenment: Cultural Practices and Personal Encounters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).

Interrogates how sociable meetings between individuals of different cultures actually proceed, and which meetings proved to be meaningful or influential in the long run. Examines how British liberty and literature were admired and rejected, emulated and contested throughout Europe. Explores sociable encounters ending in mutual understanding and conflict alike.

- Abstract -
This volume covers a broad range of everyday private and public, touristic, commercial and fictional encounters between Britons and continental Europeans, in a variety of situations and places: moments that led to a meaningful exchange of opinions, practices, or concepts such as friendship or politeness. It argues that, taken together, travel accounts, commercial advice, letters, novels and philosophical works of the long eighteenth century, reveal the growing impact of British sociability on the sociable practices on the continent, and correspondingly, the convivial turn of the Enlightenment. In particular, the essays collected here discuss the ways and means – in conversations, through travel guides or literary works – by which readers and writers grappled with their cultural differences in the field of sociability. The first part deals with travellers, the second section with the spreading of various cultural practices, and the third with fictional encounters in philosophical dialogues and novels.

SEBASTIAN DOMSCH, Chair of Anglophone Literatures at the University of Greifswald, Germany, is the author of The Emergence of Literary Criticism in 18th-Century Britain (2014) and co-editor of British and European Romanticisms (2007) and Romantic Ambiguities: Abodes of the Modern (2017).

MASCHA HANSEN, Lecturer in British Literature at the University of Greifswald, Germany, focuses on women in the long eighteenth century, and has published on Frances Burney, the Bluestockings, Hester Thrale and Queen Charlotte. Her particular interests range from women’s life writings to their involvement in sociability, science and education.

DOMSCH and HANSEN

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