After my trips to the British Library I have been pondering how to assess the social interaction of the different classes and as I mentioned in the last post I was afraid it would be omissions that would end up more relevant than what was documented. Of course studying omissions can only lead the suppositions and not conclusions.
There is a definite trend in the writings published over the 18th century. At the start of the century the writers are more columnists – they are about gossip and who is doing what to who and where and when. as the century draws on there is a growing news journalism style evolving. The articles become more about facts and figures rather than social comment and actually become less informative for my purposes.
I read a piece printed in The Connoisseur where the writer talks about the crowd on a particular evening; “The groups of figures, varying in age, dress, attitudes and company…” age, dress and company is quite straight forward but attitudes. Mmmm. Then the light globe called epiphany switched on; the use of language. What was meant by attitude in the 18th century, why is it used in this manner to define a group of people. Is it a euphemism for class?
I don’t know at this stage but when I get back home I will investigate the etymology of the word.