Elite Women and Polite Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland
Fashionable "polite" society of this period emphasised mixed-gender sociability and encouraged the visible participation of elite women in a series of urban, often public settings. Using a variety of sources (both men's and women's correspondence, accounts, bills, memoirs and other family papers), this book investigates the ways in which polite social practices and expectations influenced the experience of elite femininity in Scotland in the eighteenth century. It explores women's education and upbringing; their reading practices; the meanings of the social spaces and activities in which they engaged and how this fed over into the realm of politics; and the fashion for tourism at home and abroad. It also asks how elite women used polite social spaces and practices to extend their mental horizons and to form a sense of belonging to a public at a time when Scotland was among the most intellectually vibrant societies in Europe.
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