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Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime Franceby Clare Haru Crowston
Synopses & Reviews
In Old Regime France credit was both a central part of economic exchange and a crucial concept for explaining dynamics of influence and power in all spheres of life. Contemporaries used the term credit to describe reputation and the currency it provided in court politics, literary production, religion, and commerce. Moving beyond Pierre Bourdieu's theorization of capital, this book establishes credit as a key matrix through which French men and women perceived their world. As Clare Haru Crowston demonstrates, credit unveils the personal character of market transactions, the unequal yet reciprocal ties binding society, and the hidden mechanisms of political power.
Credit economies constituted andquot;economies of regardandquot; in which reputation depended on embodied performances of credibility. Crowston explores the role of fashionable appearances and sexual desire in leveraging credit and reconstructs women's vigorous participation in its gray markets. The scandalous relationship between Queen Marie Antoinette and fashion merchant Rose Bertin epitomizes the vertical loyalties and deep social divides of the credit regime and its increasingly urgent political stakes.
Credit, Fashion, Sex is a historical account of how, in Old Regime France, credit was both a central part of economic exchange and a crucial concept for explaining dynamics of influence and power in all spheres of life.
About the Author
Clare Haru Crowston is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Table of Contents
Illustrations and Tables ix
Money and Measurements xi
1. Credit and Old Regime Economies of Regard 21
2. Critiques and Crises of the Credit System 56
3. Incredible Style: Intertwined Circuits of Credit, Fashion, and Sex 96
4. Credit in the Fashion Trades of Eighteenth-Century Paris 139
5. Fashion Merchants: Managing Credit, Narrating Collapse 195
6. Madame Dand#233;ficit and Her Minister of Fashion: Self-Fashioning and the Politics of Credit 246
7. Family Affairs: Consumption, Credit, and the Marriage Bond 283
Conclusion. Credit is Dead. Long Live Credit! 316
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