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French Salons


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Kale's monograph is a delightfully provocative cultural history of elite sociability in a turbulent period. The everyday life of French aristocrats has changed dramatically since the eighteenth century, but as Kale demonstrates well, I think, many features of the Old Regime's salons survived the French Revolution right into the Restoration Monarchy, the moment of their most significant political influence. This insightful book should appeal to a large readership of scholars and students in modern European history. -- James Smith Allen, Southern Illinois University In French Salons, Steven Kale expands our knowledge about aristocratic women and salons in the first half of the nineteenth century, providing important new insights into elite women's lives, their sociability, politics, and codes of behavior. In placing the salons at the nexus of politics and gender, Kale brings to light the complexity and functions of the salons in the first half of the nineteenth century. This study is a welcome addition to the literature in women's history. -- Rachel G. Fuchs, Arizona State University

About the Author

Steven Kale is a professor of history at Washington State University. He is the author of Legitimism and the Reconstruction of French Society, 1852-1883.


Kale's analysis emphasizes the fluidity between the public and private spheres for aristocratic women and political men. -- Claire A. Sanders History: Reviews of New Books The usual portrait of the salon, its importance in private and public spheres, and the role of the salonniere emerge considerably revised in this clearly written, expertly researched study. Choice Kale's book provides an important corrective to prevailing views of salons, and his argument about the ways in which aristocratic women did and did not involve themselves in politics deserves our attention. -- Denise Z. Davidson H-France Kale's most original insights come across in the five chapters at the heart of the book devoted to the period from 1792 to 1848... One of the merits of Kale's work is its judicious evaluation of women's political influence. -- Stephen Miller Canadian Journal of History The fact that Kale's prose is elegant and precise allows him to present the glories and wit of le monde with its richness altogether preserved. -- Robert A. Nye Journal of Social History Well-organized and informative. -- David Longfellow Historian Kale's thesis widens the parameters on salon scholarship. -- Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley Libraries and Culture Makes a shrewd contribution to understanding how a sample of French elite women perceived changes in culture and society from the Old Regime to the Second Empire. -- David Higgs American Historical Review [Kale] has accomplished the tremendously useful task of writing an important book that will be controversial in many ways and therefore productive of continued research. -- Katharine Hamerton Journal of Modern History

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