Cake and Conversation. The Women's Jour in Parisian High Society, 1880-1914

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At the end of the nineteenth century an upper-class Parisian hostess invited guests into her home on a fixed afternoon of her choice each week. Was this tradition, known as the jour, merely an occasion to partake of refreshments and chat? Or did it serve broader purposes for the women of High Society? This article investigates the process of invitation to a jour, the subtle nuances of etiquette at these gatherings, conversation between men and women, and what was consumed in the way of food and drink. By documenting social interaction in the space of the salon, this article analyses the way in which ‘power’ was constituted through bodily practices. It then goes on to show what the exercise of this power reveals about gender roles, and the structure of social relationships among the Parisian upper class, in the decades before the First World War.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-363
Number of pages22
JournalFrench History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


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