For those who have been patiently waiting for a new book, you may soon be rewarded. Scheduled for release on September 15, The Age of Comfort: When Paris Disvcovered Casual—And the Modern Home Began sounds like it might be just the book for those of us who are craving a good francophile read.
An article in yesterday's New York Times features a brief interview with the book's author, Joan DeJean and the following review is from
"French cultural historian DeJean presents an entertaining account of how home life was virtually reinvented in Paris from 1670 to 1765 as sofas, running water and flush toilets appeared in modern residences: the city became a giant workshop in which inventions in the arts and crafts and innovative technologies were tried out.
Louis XIV's and Louis XV's royal mistresses displayed a bold vision for integrating architecture, interior decor and fashion, thus influencing modern comfort. In private mansions, French architects subdivided interior space to allow for varying degrees of privacy.
As bathing became a pleasurable, commonplace activity, tubs became more comfortable and were redesigned as decorative objects in their own right. Men fell in love with the superexpensive flush toilet; the sofa—created by the architect Meissonnier—attained instant celebrity status; and interior decoration became a subset of the new architecture of private life as Parisians discovered that domestic interiors should be the expression of their personal taste."
If you are interested in French history and culture you have to be tempted, n'est ce pas?