Thursday, June 16, 2005

Why I Adore the Eighteenth Century

I've just popped in briefly to mention a book I thought might be of interest to others, but I haven't yet discussed why I love the eighteenth century.

If I stretch my memory back to my childhood, television and books influenced me. Television, you ask? Yes - the absolutely awful (to some people, although I liked the romance of it all) miniseries "Napoleon and Josephine." To this day, I adore Armande Assante and he is the model for the hero of my first book, appropriately entitled, Depths of Love.

The book that influenced me the most, however, was Rosalind Laker's Tree of Gold. Set during the early years of Napoleon's reign in France, it delves into the silk weaving industry and also takes you on a historical journey through Europe across battlefields. To this day, Tree of Gold influenced me to write and to delve into history.

I am particularly fascinated with the French Revolution. Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities made me cry because Sydney Carton sacrified his life for the woman he loved. In the midst of such turmoil, who could fail to cry over such a sacrifice?

In graduate school, I wrote a paper comparing and contrasting the women of the American and French Revolutions, something that has not yet been done. But I soon discovered why. It is an intensely difficult subject to comprehend. Social class played a very important role. The majority of the women who participated in the French Revolution were lower and middle class, not aristocrats. In America, we did not have aristocrats and thus, the difficulty in comparing the two is further complicated by trying to discern the social aspects of the two revolutions. But I did manage to find a home for my paper online at (although it's no longer up).

On a more normal level (I sometimes wonder if academics are normal, LOL!), I love the clothes, the manners, the music, the personalities...

Actually, it's kind of hard to define exactly why I love the eighteenth century. Maybe it's because the world imploded upon itself in so many ways. America declared its independence. A Corsican Upstart ruled the most powerful empire in the world. Borders changed. Fashions changed. (And oh how I love to study the history of fashion!). People changed.

Sigh...well, so this post is rather a mish-mash of thoughts and ideas about why I love the eighteenth century. But that's perhaps why I love it - the mish-mash of different ideas, concepts, beliefs, and attitudes prevalent at different points during this time period.

It's utterly fascinating.


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