A History of Private Life, Volume V: Riddles of Identity in Modern Times

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Overview

All the mystery, earthiness and romance of the Middle Ages are captured in this panorama of everyday life. The evolving concepts of intimacy are explored--from the semi-obscure eleventh century through the first stirrings of the Renaissance world in the fifteenth century. Color and black-and-white illustrations.

The final volume in the award-winning series charts the remarkable inner history of our times from the tumult of World War I to the present day, when personal identity was released from its moorings in gender, family, social class, religion, politics, and nationality. "A fascinating glimpse into the distant and exotic past."--Los Angeles Times. 230 halftones, 2 tables.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune

The wealth of materials is impressive, and Arthur Goldhammer's skillful translation captures the contributors' voices...Lavishly illustrated with well-captioned reproductions.
— Joseph Coates

Financial Times

A History of Private Life has been an immense undertaking...The series has deservedly attracted huge praise from historians of all hues for its scholarly imagination and beautiful presentation. It is thus an unusually strong recommendation to say that the final volume is worthy of its predecessors.
— Andrew Freeman

Los Angeles Times

The text is leavened with an abundant display of imagery...The entire series amounts to a vast treasury of human thought and experience, a sourcebook of ideas and images. At times lyrical, then analytical, but always provocative...A tool for the analyst and the novelist as much as the historian and anthropologist.
— Jonathan Kirsch

Los Amgeles Times

There's something wonderfully audacious about the very concept of
'History of Private Life,' a five-volume study that seeks to reveal the most intimate details of everyday life over three millennia of Western European history. Here is one scholarly work in which the bathroom and the bordello figure as importantly as the storming of the Bastille or the defeat of Napoleon ... A fascinating glimpse into the distant and exotic past.
— Jonathan Kirsch

Chicago Tribune - Joseph Coates
The wealth of materials is impressive, and Arthur Goldhammer's skillful translation captures the contributors' voices...Lavishly illustrated with well-captioned reproductions.
Financial Times - Andrew Freeman
A History of Private Life has been an immense undertaking...The series has deservedly attracted huge praise from historians of all hues for its scholarly imagination and beautiful presentation. It is thus an unusually strong recommendation to say that the final volume is worthy of its predecessors.
Los Angeles Times - Jonathan Kirsch
There's something wonderfully audacious about the very concept of
'History of Private Life,' a five-volume study that seeks to reveal the most intimate details of everyday life over three millennia of Western European history. Here is one scholarly work in which the bathroom and the bordello figure as importantly as the storming of the Bastille or the defeat of Napoleon ... A fascinating glimpse into the distant and exotic past.
Chicago Tribune
The wealth of materials is impressive, and Arthur Goldhammer's skillful translation captures the contributors' voices...Lavishly illustrated with well-captioned reproductions.
— Joseph Coates
Los Angeles Times
The text is leavened with an abundant display of imagery...The entire series amounts to a vast treasury of human thought and experience, a sourcebook of ideas and images. At times lyrical, then analytical, but always provocative...A tool for the analyst and the novelist as much as the historian and anthropologist.
— Jonathan Kirsch
Financial Times
A History of Private Life has been an immense undertaking...The series has deservedly attracted huge praise from historians of all hues for its scholarly imagination and beautiful presentation. It is thus an unusually strong recommendation to say that the final volume is worthy of its predecessors.
— Andrew Freeman
Los Amgeles Times
There's something wonderfully audacious about the very concept of
'History of Private Life,' a five-volume study that seeks to reveal the most intimate details of everyday life over three millennia of Western European history. Here is one scholarly work in which the bathroom and the bordello figure as importantly as the storming of the Bastille or the defeat of Napoleon ... A fascinating glimpse into the distant and exotic past.
— Jonathan Kirsch
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
People of the Middle Ages were suspicious of solitude. Feudal dwellings were promiscuously crowded, monastery layouts reflected a fear of isolation. Yet, the idea of privacy, linked to an inner life, stubbornly took root. Intimacy found expression in peasant hearths, in orchards where lovers embraced, in noble households with their areas for retreat, in towers and fortresses that gave ordinary people a refuge from the havoc of war. The private sphere spilled out into the neighborhood. Moving from the anonymous 11th century to the stirrings of Renaissance individualism, this second volume of essays in a projected five-volume opus is a marvelous re-creation of history as it was actually lived, an archeological excavation of daily life few historians have attempted. Hundreds of apt illustrations complement discussions of bedroom design, table manners, discovery of the body, customs. The growing importance of the individual is traced through fables, romances, poems and a new realism in painting. The contributors are French scholars; Duby is a professor at the College de France. History Book Club alternate. (March)
Library Journal
These volumes, edited by Philippe Aries and Georges Duby, are aimed at both the scholar and layperson who wonder how people lived and behaved from ancient times to the present: "their thoughts, their feelings, their bodies, their attitudes, their habits and habitations, their codes, their marks, and their signs." The focus is on western European life, primarily French. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Spanning the period from the 11th century to the Renaissance and focusing on France and Tuscan Italy, this continues the projected five-volume history of private life from the Roman world to the present. ``Private'' is here defined as what medieval people considered intimate, familial, domestic. The five chapters, three of them written all or in part by distinguished French scholar Duby, display an astounding knowledge and use of sources and offer rich detail about everything from affection and sex to domestic arrangements and latrines. The many illustrations strongly support the text. Essential for both research and general collections.Bennett D. Hill, St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674400047
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: History of Private Life Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.99 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Duby, a member of the Académie Française, is Professor of Medieval History at the Collège de France.

Arthur Goldhammer received the French-American Translation Prize in 1990 for his translation of A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution.

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Table of Contents

1. Public and Private Spheres in France
by Antoine Prost

Introduction

Changing Workers and Workplaces

The Family and the Individual

The Transition from Neighborhood to Metropolis

2. A History of Secrets?
by Gérard Vincent

The Secrets of History and the Riddle of Identity

Family Secrets

The Body and the Enigma of Sex

3. Cultural Diversity in France
by Gérard Vincent, Perrine Simon-Nahum, Rémi Leveau, Dominique Schnapper

Catholics: Imagination and Sin

Communism as a Way of Life

French Judaism

The Role of Immigrants

4. Nations of Families
by Kristina Orfali, Chiara Saraceno, Ingeborg Weber-Kellerman, Elaine Tyler May

The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model

The Italian Family: Paradoxes of Privacy
Translated by Raymond Rosenthal

The German Family between Private Life and Politics
Translated and Edited by Mary Jo Maynes and Michele Mouton

Myths and Realities of the American Family

Notes

Bibliography

Credits

Index

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