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Rudeness and Civility

Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America

John F. Kasson

Hill and Wang

With keen insight and subtle humor, John F. Kasson explores the history and politics of etiquette from America's colonial times through the nineteenth century. He describes the transformation of our notion of "gentility," once considered a birthright to some, and the development of etiquette as a middle-class response to the new urban and industrial economy and to the excesses of democratic society.

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Rudeness and Civility
CHAPTER ONEManners before the Nineteenth CenturyManners are generally a subject for anecdote, rarely for analysis. But a half century ago, in The Civilizing Process, Norbert Elias placed the study of manners on an entirely new footing with his treatment of the phenomenal changes in standards of deportment and expression since the Middle Ages. Norms of polite conduct, he insisted, could not be understood in isolation. Rather, they were intimately tied to the structures of feeling, human relations, and the larger society of which they were a part. Taking the extensive European
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Praise for Rudeness and Civility

"Kasson adds an important and delightful dimension to our previously narrow understanding of the history of everyday life in the United States. His book offers a wonderful way to trace the relationship between socioeconomic change and cultural norms." --Michael Kammen, Cornell University

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John F. Kasson

  • John F. Kasson, who teaches history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the author of Houdini, Tarzan and the Perfect Man; Amusing the Million; Rudeness and Civility; and Civilizing the Machine.
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    Rudeness and Civility

    Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America

    John F. Kasson

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