Philobiblon: A retort to Habermas ...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A retort to Habermas ...

... to whom I never did really take.

It seems that all those men sitting around in coffee and chocolate shops in the 17th century were more often joined by women than he acknowledged.

An excellent article in the journal The Seventeenth Century suggests that working-class women, at least, often went into coffee shops, while middle-class women might well have done this, in addition to using them to transact business just as the men did.

The more "genteel" chocolate houses were where higher class women were more likely to be found, although the line was a thin one: the article notes that Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, went to the Temple Coffee House for a botanical club meeting(p.261).

Of course women could be there for other reasons: "There being scarce a Coffee-House but affords a Tawdry Woman, a wanton Daughter, or a Buzome Maide, to accommodate Customers ..." (quoted from 'Well-willer' The Men's Answer to the Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674, p. 2.)

(H. Berry, "'Nice and Curious Questions': Coffee Houses and the Representation of women in John Dunton's Athenian Mercury", Vol XII, No 2, Autumn 1997, pp. 257-276.)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home