|GR: That theory goes well with what I had heard before...
Written by KerstinM
(11/6/2003 12:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: ch 6 homes & hospitality, penned by LaurieC
...though it dealt less with generosity towards one's peasants than with hospitality in general.
The chapter about the (changed) rules of hospitality reminded me of a speech at the British/German society at Frankfurt that I was able to attend which was about Englishmen guarding their privacy (“My home is my castle”). This explained to me why even people who claimed to be kinsmen had to stay at an inn as one example in the book showed.
The lecture about the rules of hospitality were mainly based on foreigner’s letters and travel accounts (e.g. Casanova, Johanna Schopenhauer) in the 18th/ early19th century about the Englishmen who rigidly guarded their privacy and whose strict rules of hospitability seemed often cold and unfriendly to strangers. Especially Johanna Schopenhauer (mother of the German philosopher) commented rather acerbically on them-apparently the custom that separated men and women’s spheres after dinner were at that time not know on the continent, also the rigid custom that one had to be introduced by a close friend or relative to be invited in the inner circle of a family were seen as a great obstacle in making friends on the island.
But actually those rules which those foreigners found repressive and somewhat odd were very similar to our modern sensibilities and the lecturer explained it with the early industrialization and urbanization in Great Britain which created structures similar to today. I don’t necessarily agree with what he said but he explained rather convincingly how the rules of hospitality had greatly changed in Great Britain over the centuries and that it foreshadowed what would be the rule on the continent, too –but much later.
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