"La Salonniere et l'Internaute": Systemes de socialite et conversation de la Revolution francaise jusqu'au present

Date of Completion

January 2010


Literature, Romance|History, European|European Studies




The objective of this dissertation is to show that, far from being a culturally and historically confined concept, the "salon" in its eighteenth-century form in France inaugurates an unprecedented system of sociality that continues to define various spaces of conversation since the French Revolution and is indeed still in place today. Through various analyses of conversation—in texts by several authors, such as the marquis de Sade, the Goncourt brothers, Marcel Proust and Lorette Nobécourt—this dissertation will demonstrate that the salon's basic system of sociality has not disappeared but transformed through literary ages and genres. Over three centuries, this system of sociality has defined various instances in form and meaning such as the boudoir, the dinner party, the café, the restaurant, and the internet forum, hence the title of the dissertation: "La Salonnière et L'Internaute." These new spaces of sociality could not have emerged and functioned without the breach constituted by the Enlightenment making the salon a modern cultural phenomenon whose eighteenth-century system of conversational sociality continues today to determine our spaces of interaction. ^