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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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Coming Out

(p.190) Coda
The Closet

Danielle Bobker

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers many histories that intersect with and inform that of the eighteenth-century closet. It includes the history of the Turkish hammam, the water closet, the camera obscura, and the museum. It analyzes the multiple strands that make it possible to assemble a lexicon of intimacy that encompasses the evolving connotations and denotations of the word closet along with those of many related terms, such as cabinet, green room, peeping Tom, privy, secretary, seraglio, and vis-à-vis. The chapter also reveals that the histories of the bathing closet and the water closet, though both concerned with cleanliness and plumbing, unfurl across very different timelines and may evoke very different social milieus and cultural associations. It describes the closet prayer's extensive hold over the intimate imagination that is revealed through its depiction as a form of erotic favoritism, as a practice for the privy, and as a source of spiritual insights to be immortalized. It also outlines the recurring international perspectives that situate the rise of British closet culture within larger political dynamics.

Keywords:   closet, bathing closet, water closet, closet prayer, erotic favoritism, privy, British closet culture, political dynamics

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