Eighteenth-Century Coffee-House Culture

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9781851968299: Eighteenth-Century Coffee-House Culture

During the long eighteenth century the coffee-house brought about profound cultural transformations in English society. Much of the evidence for this view comes from printed satires, plays and histories of the period, many anonymous, fugitive and vulgar. This four-volume edition reprints in facsimile this rare body of texts, which greatly alters previous interpretations of the significance of the coffee-house as a social and democratic space. Eighteenth-Century Coffee-House Culture makes a substantial intervention in current debates about the nature of the public sphere and the culture of politeness. Coffee-houses provided a forum for exchanging views and nurturing public opinion across the social spectrum. This is captured in the satires reproduced here. Coffee-house plays also celebrated the role of the coffee-house in circulating gossip, scandal, rumour and subversion. The distinct properties of the coffee-house were recognized in the period by natural philosophers, antiquarians and historians. Their debates on science and historiography are included in this edition. The coffee-room encouraged scientific culture and became a precursor of the laboratory: science became a public matter. Interdisciplinary in character, this set is invaluable to all academic departments concerned with Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Studies. In particular it will appeal to historians and scholars of literature, science and medicine, politics, urban culture, theatre and the book. It allows scholars and students to form their own understanding of the unique contribution made by the coffee-house to British and American history and culture. Most of the works included have never been republished, most remain very difficult to consult outside a few major research libraries, and few have ever been academically edited. Each facsimile page is digitally cleaned and enhanced, significantly improving on the quality and legibility of the original. It includes a general introduction and volume introductions, and headnotes and endnotes to each text. It offers a concise bibliography and consolidated index in the final volume.

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Helps scholars and students form an understanding of the contribution made by the coffee-house to British and even American history and culture. This book attempts to make an intervention in debates about the nature of the public sphere and the culture of politeness. It is intended for historians and scholars of literature, science, and medicine.

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'[The] masterful selection and arrangement of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources colorfully illustrate the rich legacy of the institution.' Huntington Library Quarterly 'It is wonderful to read these texts at first hand, in the earthy language of the day' Times Literary Supplement 'Ellis has done a magnificent job of collecting, ordering, introducing and annotating these four volumes; it is one of the few such collections now emerging from presses with the rapidity of openings of neighborhood Starbucks of which one can say with full conviction: this is worth the price.' The Scriblerian

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