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The ClosetThe Eighteenth-Century Architecture of Intimacy$
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Danielle Bobker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691198231

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691198231.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

The Way In

The Way In

(p.12) 1 The Way In
The Closet

Danielle Bobker

Princeton University Press

This chapter outlines the broad historical and conceptual foundations for the focused explorations on the closet. It analyzes the domestic privacy and modern selfhood that has overshadowed the closet's origins as a site of politicized intimacy and its flexibility as a locus of interpersonal relations in eighteenth-century Britain. It also assesses how the emergence of democratic social feelings has generally directed attention away from the closet and toward more obviously heterogeneous scenes of sociability, such as the coffee house. The chapter considers the closet's peculiar aptness as a setting and symbol of social transition. It explains how the closet is widely recognized as a place where reciprocal feelings could flourish against a backdrop of rigid status distinctions and how it revealed the exhilarating and also uncomfortable new processes and prospects of inclusion.

Keywords:   closet, domestic privacy, modern selfhood, politicized intimacy, sociability, coffee house, social transition, reciprocal feelings

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