Paris: City of Light

Early 1700 Reading Practices


Parisian Salons
 ~Salons of   Enlightenment
 ~Madame de   Stäel         
~Salons of the   Restoration
 ~The Salons of   Victor Hugo

Influence of Printed Materials
 ~Pre-Revolutionary   Timeline
 ~Post-Revolutionary   Timeline


Defining the Parisians
 ~Parisians Viewed   by Foreigners
 ~Parisians   Viewed by   Themselves
 ~Paris Fashion




Image 2.1 La Lecture, by Pierre-Antoine Baudoin (1723-1769), undated, Musee des Arts Dacoratifs, Paris (Chartier, 220).

This picture shows a woman reading in a cozy room in her house. Her elegant dress; the patterned rug; the full, draping curtains; and the presence of furniture and musical instruments all indicate that the woman is wealthy. In addition, her relaxed posture suggests that she is reading for pleasure and therefore has the luxury to spend her time day-dreaming rather than working. Another important marker of reading practices around the 1740's and earlier is that they take place in private. She is neither intellectually engaged nor surrounded by people to offer opinions or challenging viewpoints.