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

By Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

This booklet employs ancient archaeological facts to exhibit 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 artwork and demonstrates how the recent English retailers chosen and tailored modern British manners to create a brand new American type of well mannered habit.

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

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As with other courtesy works, knowing one’s own place, and its relation to others—both greater and lesser—was key. “It is degrading for people of good family not to observe the manners of their position. Those for whom destiny has decreed an ordinary, humble, or even rustic lot should strive all the more keenly to compensate for the malignity of fate with the elegance of good manners” (Erasmus 1985: 289). And knowing this place, a person should be able to moderate taste between History, Archaeology, and the Ideal World of Manners 23 gaudiness and carelessness, to give an indication not only of station, but of personality: Style of dress should be in accordance with one’s means and station, one’s locality and its standards, neither conspicuous by its shabbiness nor indicative of opulence, loose living, or arrogance.

A degree of negligence in dress suits young men provided it does not lapse into slovenliness.... The greater a man’s wealth, the more agreeable is his modesty. (Erasmus 1985: 279) Erasmus stressed the virtues of respect, moderation, complaisance, imitation (the better to learn), and self-restraint. While modesty was very important, it too was nothing without attendant humility: “Modesty should be displayed, but modesty of the becoming sort, not that which attracts attention” (Erasmus 1985: 286).

Most of the books that addressed women (more frequently as a topic than an audience) spoke more of how to regulate their “animal natures” than to prescribe social graces. In the last decade of the thirteenth century, Francesco Da Barberino wrote of this in his Document d’Amore: A woman should never go out alone. An unmarried young lady had better wear a topaz, which is proved by experience to be an antidote to carnal desire.... A Lady’s-maid should not tell tales to her mistress ofany peccadilloes of the husband; still less should she report to the husband anything against his wife, unless it be a grave and open misdoing.

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