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