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

By Lorinda B.R. Goodwin

This publication employs ancient archaeological proof to show how well mannered rituals reproduced the social and fabric international of trade in colonial Massachusetts. the writer situates artifacts in the social contexts descibed in modern letters and diaries and depicted in literature and paintings and demonstrates how the hot English retailers chosen and tailored modern British manners to create a brand new American kind of well mannered habit.

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

Example text

It includes more than merely that behavior that does not disgust; it is a sensibility and awareness of why one wants to behave politely. Italian Renaissance Courtesy Courtly literature was formulated in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, emerging with new Renaissance ideals of style and beauty (later to be matched by the ideal of the “gentleman” in sixteenth- 20 Chapter 2 century England). Besides instructing in the arts of eating at the table, these early courtesy works discussed personal deportment and were concerned with “universally” recognized notions of good taste that included simplicity of demeanor, consideration for others, personal honor, restraint, and freedom from affectation.

Paul’s Cathedral in 1670, and Hogarth painted A Harlot’s Progress about 1731, Johnson’s Dictionary was published in 1755, and Wedgwood built his first factory by 1759. Almost 50 years after settlement by Roger Conant in 1626, Salem was one of the communities affected by King Philip’s war, followed by the witchcraft trials in 1692 and the Great Awakening between 1720 and 1750. Elsewhere in Massachusetts, the paintings of the Freake family were executed in 1674. Cotton Mather published his Magnalia Christi Americana in 1702 and Samuel Sewall wrote his diary between 1674 and 1729.

Like many of her nonfictional contemporaries in the eighteenth century, Sophia learned her becomingly polite ways from her family (in her case, her well-trained, “citified” aunt) and from novels rather than courtesy literature (Barker-Benfield 1992: 295). But mannerly works—like Erasmus’s De civilitate— that crystallized during the Renaissance and continued to permeate society in the early modern period were certainly the most important form of courtesy instruction, selected and edited to suit the current practitioners.

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