The Bethlehem Hospital, the Newgate Prison and the boudoir as places of sociability in Defoe's A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, Moll Flanders and Roxana - Université de Bretagne Occidentale Access content directly
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The Bethlehem Hospital, the Newgate Prison and the boudoir as places of sociability in Defoe's A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, Moll Flanders and Roxana

Abstract

Place should be understood not just in terms of location, but also in terms of meaning – its history, use, ecology, appearance, status, reputation, the people who interact with the place, its potential future. It refers to the actual life of the place as it is experienced by those who visit it, and therefore also encapsulates its psychic impact and assimilation into human consciousness. Visitors’ access to the spaces of London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital and Newgate prison crucially fostered the exchange of information in Daniel Defoe’s time, and promoted discussion in the public sphere. This generated a congerie of ideas and debates that developed gradually into an alternative culture that appealed to literati and liberal circles. Defoe’s description of visitors’ access to the spaces of London’s brothels and boudoirs transcends any moralizing and hypocritical censorship. Instead, these visits become occasions of exchange and sociability. Place has no meaning outside human consciousness, but the atmosphere of places works on us in a dynamic way and, more controversially, in turn our minds and experiences act on and influence places.

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hal-03987470 , version 1 (14-02-2023)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03987470 , version 1

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Miriam Sette. The Bethlehem Hospital, the Newgate Prison and the boudoir as places of sociability in Defoe's A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, Moll Flanders and Roxana. Annick Cossic-Péricarpin et Emrys D. Jones. La Représentation et la réinvention des espaces de sociabilité au cours du long XVIIIe siècle, Tome VII, Le Manuscrit, pp.331-363, 2021, Tranversales, 978-2-304-04897-1. ⟨hal-03987470⟩

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