Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Early Modern British History.

McGill University.

Research expertise

History of early modern Britain and Europe.




Celebrity was a form of sociability as well as a form of publicity that took its modern form over the course of the long eighteenth century. It was related to, but distinct from, the experience of fame.

Daniel Defoe’s Social Networks

Daniel Defoe was best known as a writer and his primary social networks grew out of his intense engagement with the print trade. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Defoe’s sociability relied much less on interpersonal ties of family, friendship, religion or civic obligation.


Coffeehouses were key centres of sociability in eighteenth-century Britain. They played an important role both as real spaces for social interaction and as virtual places in which normative ideals of urban and polite sociability were imagined.

Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison was an important theorist of sociability best known for his essays published in The Tatler (1709-1711) and The Spectator (1711-1712, 1714). His essays promoted and exemplified an ideal of polite sociability that became extremely influential in the eighteenth century and afterwards.