Professor of English Literature
University of Paris Sorbonne
English Literature; Philosophy; History of Ideas; India; Middle East; Social Practices.
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.
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.
Duelling was not simply an English affair, but also a social practice indulged in and debated throughout Europe. Originally, the duel was perhaps not as regulated as we have come to think of it, and it proceeded from the disorder and the general violence of society. In spite of the image of the eighteenth century as an age of politeness, duels persisted in the eighteenth century, and their endurance cannot be understood without a reflection on their long history, which is also briefly sketched in this entry.
Sporting clubs appeared in the eighteenth century as sports were beginning to organise. Still, their birth was messy, as the very idea of a sports club, as we know it now, took a long time to materialise. They emerged from the more informal gatherings in social places of individuals brought together by their passion for a particular sport – and sometimes by the gambling which this sport made possible.