1st Edition

Eighteenth-Century Thing Theory in a Global Context From Consumerism to Celebrity Culture

Edited By Ileana Baird, Christina Ionescu Copyright 2013
    386 Pages
    by Routledge

    386 Pages
    by Routledge

    Exploring Enlightenment attitudes toward things and their relation to human subjects, this collection offers a geographically wide-ranging perspective on what the eighteenth century looked like beyond British or British-colonial borders. To highlight trends, fashions, and cultural imports of truly global significance, the contributors draw their case studies from Western Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America, and Oceania. This survey underscores the multifarious ways in which new theoretical approaches, such as thing theory or material and visual culture studies, revise our understanding of the people and objects that inhabit the phenomenological spaces of the eighteenth century. Rather than focusing on a particular geographical area, or on the global as a juxtaposition of regions with a distinctive cultural footprint, this collection draws attention to the unforeseen relational maps drawn by things in their global peregrinations, celebrating the logic of serendipity that transforms the object into some-thing else when it is placed in a new locale.

    Introduction: Peregrine Things: Rethinking the Global in Eighteenth-Century Studies
    Ileana Baird
    Introduction: Through the Prism of Thing Theory: New Approaches to the Eighteenth-Century World of Objects
    Christina Ionescu
    Part I Western European Fads: Porcelain, Fetishes, Museum Objects, Antiques
    1  Caution, Contents May Be Hot: A Cultural Anatomy of the Tasse Trembleuse
    Christine A. Jones
    2  Cultural Currency: Chrysal, or The Adventures of a Guinea, and the Material Shape of Eighteenth-Century Celebrity
    Kevin Bourque
    3  Feather Cloaks and English Collectors: Cook’s Voyages and the Objects of the Museum
    Sophie Thomas
    4  Imagining Ancient Egypt as the Idealized Self in Eighteenth-Century Europe
    Kevin M. McGeough
    Part II Under Eastern Eyes: Garments, Portraits, Books
    5  Frills and Perils of Fashion: Politics and Culture of the Eighteenth-Century Russian Court through the Eyes of La Mode
    Victoria Ivleva
    6  From Russia with Love: Souvenirs and Political Alliance in Martha Wilmot’s The Russian Journals
    Pamela Buck
    7  “The Battle of the Books” in Catherine the Great’s Russia: From a Jousting Tournament to a Tavern Brawl
    Rimma Garn
    Part III Latin American Encounters: Coins, Food, Accessories, Maps
    8  From Peruvian Gold to British Guinea: Tropicopolitanism and Myths of Origin in Charles Johnstone’s Chrysal
    Mauricio E. Martinez
    9  Eating Turtle, Eating the World: Comestible Things in the Eighteenth Century
    Krystal McMillen
    10 The Fur Parasol: Masculine Dress, Prosthetic Skins, and the Making of the English Umbrella in Robinson Crusoe
    Irene Fizer
    11 Terra Incognita on Maps of Eighteenth-Century Spanish America: Commodification, Consumption and the Transition from Inaccessible to Public Space
    Lauren Beck
    Part IV Imagining Other Spaces: Trinkets, Collectibles, Ethnographic Artifacts, Scientific Objects
    12 (Re-)Appropriating Trinkets: How to Civilize Polynesia with a Jack-in-the-Box
    Laure Marcellesi
    13 Images of Exotic Objects in the Abbé Prévost’s Histoire Générale des Voyages
    Antoine Eche
    14 Souvenirs of the South Seas: Objects of Imperial Critique in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
    Jessica Durgan


    Ileana Baird is a Postdoctoral Preceptorship Fellow at the University of Virginia, USA.

    Christina Ionescu is an Associate Professor of French Studies at Mount Allison University, Canada.

    'Readers interested in thing theory and students of material culture as discussed especially in literature will appreciate this book's efforts. Historical geographers can gain much from the interdisciplinary collaboration exhibited in this volume. Overall, the collection does highlight how humans relate to objects and convincingly displays how understanding such relationships can deepen our understanding of some aspects of the eighteenth-century world.' Journal of Historical Geography