An Archaeology of Manners: The Polite World of the Merchant by Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

By Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

This ebook employs historic archaeological proof to reveal how well mannered rituals reproduced the social and fabric global of trade in colonial Massachusetts. the writer situates artifacts in the social contexts descibed in modern letters and diaries and depicted in literature and paintings and demonstrates how the hot English retailers chosen and tailored modern British manners to create a brand new American kind of well mannered habit.

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Additional resources for An Archaeology of Manners: The Polite World of the Merchant Elite of Colonial Massachusetts (Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology)

Sample text

David Shields conveyed the significance of material communication in his work on the history of belles lettres in America: 32 Chapter 2 In the British American colonies,where no long-standingaristocraciescommanded automatic deference, social rites (and social games a s preparations for these rites) to assert status became critical to self-understanding. They took on peculiar weight because of the lack of signs that fixed one’s place in the social hierarchy in the Old World. In Europe titles, blood, offices, and good breeding established one in the scheme of things.

Some authors were more concerned with polish, while others emphasized the goodness of character that was the wellspring of good manners: The essence of good manners consists in freely pardoning the shortcomings of others although nowhere falling short of yourself: in holding a companion no less dear because his standards are less exacting. For there are some who compensate with other gifts for their roughness of manner.

It emphasized gracious bearing rather than true rank, though the literature still contained a highly moral and hierarchical content. Etiquette focused on specific social situations without the moral overtones, when the rise of Romanticism stressed merits of individuality rather than the uniformity of court life (Curtin 1985: 408–409). “As kings suppressed independent armies and conducted wars themselves, the European aristocracies of necessity gravitated to the royal courts, where power was henceforth won and lost.

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