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Dedicated to the Memory of My Parents

Hermann Elias, cl. Breslau 1940 Norbert Elias

Sophie Elias, cl. Auschwitz 1941(?)


Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic

Translated by Edmund ]ephcott

with some notes and corrections by the a11thor

Revised Edition

edited by
Eric Dunning, Johan Go11dsblom and Stephen Menne!!

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Preface IX
Llia'.:'. :\< )rherr
!Lbcr den Pn dcr /.i\ ili:'mi( )n f ,n1..di>h]
Acknowledgements co the English Translation X\'l

Th-.: ci\ pnfct.::-;:': :'uci<l:...:.enctic and irnt:>rigatitlfb :\"<irbert Edicors' NQ[e co the Revised Translation XVII
Fli;b: rran:-;lar-.:.d b: Ldmund )ephcorr some n<itc-> and bY rht: author
and edir:..:d b: Eric Dunning.Johan Goud::-blom. and Srepht:n ,\ft:nnd!.-Rl'.\' t:d
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l Ci\ilizati()n-Phih1:-;oph: I. Dunnin. Eric
II. (;ow..bhl(ln1. !<1lun Ill. \IcnndL Stephen I\. Tide, PART ONE
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Sociogenesis of the Antithesis benveen Kultur and Zfrili.wtio11

in 1o (ll1 12 pt Garamond m German Usage 5
b: PlHit<>prinr. T<lfLJU;l\
Introduction 5
Printcd and bnund in Singapnrc
H() Prinrin Singapurc Pre Lrd II The Development of the Antithesis between K11lt!!r and Zil'ilisatio11 9
III Examples of Courtly Attitudes in Germany 11
ThL i> w u>e paper fron1 n1ilb that oper:He a susminablc IV The Middle Class and the Court l\obility in Germany 15
polic:. and \\hich ha::- bct:n manufactured from pulp procc::->cd u::-ing acid-frl'.c and demcntal}
chlorinc-freL practice::- lunhernH>re, the publi,Sher LI1Stires that the tt:xt paper and co\ Lr board V Literary Examples of the Relationship of the German
u::-t:d ha\c nkt acceptable en\ in ltll11t:ntal accreditation Middle-Class Intelligentsia co the Court 20
VI The Recession of the Social Element and the Advance of the
hir further inforn1arion on
Black\\ dl Publishing, \i::-it our wcb:'ite: National Element in the Antithesis between Ku!t111' and
\'."\\.\\ hlack\\ ll11 Ziz'ili.wtio11 26
VI The Ciz i/i:i11g Prneess Co11tt11ts Vll

2 Sociogenesis of the Concept of Ciz.iliwtion in France 31 IX Changes in Attitudes rowards the Relations between Men and
I Introduction 31 \XIomen 1-1.:2
II Sociogenesis of Physiocrarism and the French Reform Movement 35 x On Changes in Aggressiveness 161
XI Scenes from rhe Life of a Knight !72

The Hisrory of the Concept of Ciz,i!ite 47
II On Medieval Manners 52
III The Problem of the Change in Behaviour during the Renaissance 60 PART THREE
Examples 72
(a) Representing upper-class behaviour in fairly pure form 72 Introduction 187
(b) From books addressed ro wider bourgeois srrarn 80 Survey of Courtly Society 187
Comments on the Quotations on Table Manners 85 II A Prospective Glance ar the Sociogenesis of Absolmism 191
Group l: An Overview of the Societies ro which the Texts
Dynamics of Feudalization 195
were Addressed 85
Imroduction 195
Excursus on the Rise and Decline of the Concepts
II Centralizing and Decentralizing Forces in the Medieval
of Co!!rtoisie and Cfri!ite 87
Power Figuration 197
A Review of the Curve Marking the "Civilizing"
III The Increase in Population after rhe Great Migration 208
of Earing Habits 89
IV Some Observations on the Sociogenesis of the Crusades 21-i
Excursus on rhe Modelling of Speech at Court 92
V The Internal Expansion of Society: The Formation of New
Reasons Given by People for Distinguishing
Social Organs and Instruments 220
between ''Good" and "Bad" Behaviour 97
VI Some New Elements in the Structure of Medieval Society
Group 2: On the Earing of Meat 99
as Compared with Antiquity
Use of the Knife at Table 103
VII On the Sociogenesis of Feudalism
On the Use of the Fork at Table l07
VIII On the Sociogenesis of i\Ii111ma11g and Courtly Forms of
V Changes in Attitudes rowards the Natural Functions 109
Examples 109
Some Remarks on the Examples and on these Changes in 2 On the Sociogenesis of the State 257
General 114 I The First Stage of the Rising Monarchy: Competition and
VI On Blowing One's Nose 121 Monopolization within a Terrirorial Framework 257
Examples 121 II Excursus on Some Differences in rhe Paths of Development
Comments on the Quorations on Nose-Blowing 126 of England, France and Germany 261
VII On Spitting 129 III On rhe Monopoly Mechanism 268
Examples 129 IV Early Struggles within the Framework of the Kingdom 277
Comments on the Quotations on Spitting 132 V The Resurgence of Cenrrifugal Tendencies: The Figuration
VIII On Behaviour in the Bedroom 136 of the Competing Princes 289
Examples 136 VI The Last Stages of the Free Competitive Struggle and
Comments on the Examples 138 Esrablishmem of the Final Monopoly of the Vicror 303
Vil! The Cizi/i::;ing Pr11c.:ss

VII The Power Balance wichin che Unic of Rule: Its

Significance for che Cencral Auchoricy-che
Formation of the .. Royal MechaDism ..
VIII On che Sociogc:nesis of che Monopoly of Taxacion


The Social Conscrainc cowards Self-Conscrainc .165

II Spread of the Pressure for Foresight and Self-Conscrainc 3 79
III Diminishing Comrascs, Increasing Variecies 382
IV The Courcizacion of che \X!arriors 387
V The .l\fming of Drives: Psychologizacion and Rationalization 397
VI Shame and Repugnance c[ 14
VII Increasing Conscraincs on che Upper Class: Increasing Pressure
from Btlow 421
VIII Conclusion 436

POSTSCRIPT ( 1968) Cencral co chis study are modes of behaviour considered typical of people who
are civilized in a \X!escern way. The problem chey pose is simple enough . \X!esrern
people have not always behaved in the manner we are accuscomed co regard as
typical or as che hallmark of '"civilized .. people. If members of present-day
\X!escern civilized society were co find themselves suddenly transported into a
Foreign Language Originals of the Exemplary Extracts and Verses 487
past epoch of their own society, such as the medieval-feudal period, they would
II Places from Das i\Iicct!alcerliche Hausbuch 511
find there much chat they esteem .. uncivilized .. in ocher societies roday.. Their
reaccion would scarcely differ from chat produced in chem at presem by the
NOTES 517 behaviour of people in fr:udal societies oucside che \\lescern world . They would.
depending on their situation and inclinations, be either accracred by rhe wilder,
INDEX 555 more unrestrained and advencurous life of the upper classes in chis society, or
repulsed by rhe '"barbaric .. cuscoms, che squalor and coarseness chat he encoun-
tered there . And whatever they understand by their own '"civilization ... they
would at any race feel quite unequivocally that society in chis past period of
\\!escern hiscory was not .. civilized .. in the same sense and co che same degree as
\X!escern society coday.
This scare of affairs may seem obvious co many people, and ic might appear
unnecessary co refer co it here. But ic necessarily gives rise co questions which
cannot with equal justice be said co be clearly presem in che consciousness of
living generations, although these questions are nor wichom importance for an
understanding of ourselves. How did chis change, chis '"civilizing .. of the \'Vest,
actually happeni Of what did it consist' And what were its "causes .. or "motive
x The Cil'ilizi11g Pmcw

forcts"; Ir is ro che solucion of thest main questions chac this srndy anempcs ro moves; and che question of sociogenic fears d1L!s emerges as one of che cemral
comribme. problems of che civilizing process .
To facilirnce understanding of this book, and elms as ao imroduccion ro che Very closely relaced ro chis is a furcher range of questions. The distance in
questions chemselves, it seems necessary ro examine the differem meanings and ditir and whole psychical scruccure becween children and adults
ernluations assigned ro the concepc of "civilization" in Germany and France. This increases in che course of che civilizing process. Here, for example, lies che key
enquiry makes up Pare One. Ir may help che reader ro see the concepts of K11!t11r ro che question of why some peoples or groups of peoples appear ro us as
and (irili.wtir!/I as somewhat less rigidly and self-eviclemly opposed. And ic may "vounger" or "more childlike", ochers as "older" or "more grown-up" \i(!hac we
also make a small comribmion rowards improving che German hisrorical ro express in chis way are differences in che kind and srnge of a
undtrsrnncling of the beha,iour of Frenchmen and Englishmen, and che French civilizing process chac chese sociecies have anained; bm chac is a separate
and English underscanding of che behaviour of Germans. Bue in che encl ic will quescion which cannot be included wichin che framework of chis smdy.. The
also serve ro clarify cercain cypical fearnres of che civilizing process series of examples and che imerprecacions of chem in Pare Two show one thing
To gain access ro che main quescions, ic is necessary first ro obtain a clearer very clearly: che specific psychological process of "growing up" in \i(!estern
picrnre of how che behaviour and affeccive life of \i(!escern peoples slowly sociecies, which frequently occupies the minds of psychologists and pedagogues
changed afrer che Middle Ages. To show chis is che cask of the second chapter. Ir coday, is noching ocher chan che individual civilizing process ro which each
anempcs as simply and clearly as possible ro open che way ro an underswnding young person, as a resulc of che social civilizing process over many cemuries, is
of che psychical process of civilizacion It may bt chac the idea of a psychical auromacicallv subjected from earliesc childhood, to a greacer or lesser degree and
process excending over many generncions appears hazardous and dubious ro wich greace; or lesser success The psychogenesis of che adulc make-up in
present-day hisrorical chinking. Bm ic is noc possible ro decide in a purely civilized sociecv cannoc, therefore, be undersrood if considered independently of
cheorecical, speculative way whecher che changes in psychical habirns chac are che sociogenesi,s of our "civilizacion". By a kind of "sociogenetic ground rule"*
observable in the course of \i(!estem hisrory rook place in a parcicular order and individuals, in cheir shore hisrory, pass once more chrough some of che processes
direccion. Only a scrminy of documents of hisrorical experience can show whac chac their sociecy has craversecl in ics long history
is correcc <rnd whac is incorrecc in such theories. That is why ic is noc possible Ic is che purpose of Part Three ro make certain processes in this long hisrory
here, \vhen knowledge of chis documemary macerial cannot be presupposed, ro of sociecy more accessible ro understanding. Ic anempcs, wichin a number of
give a brief preliminary skecch of che scrucmre and cemral ideas of che whole precisely defined areas, ro clarify how and why in che course of ics hiscory the
book. They chemselves cake on a firmer form only gradually, in a continuous scrucrnre of \i(!escern sociecy cominuously changes, and poims ac che same cime
observacion of hisrorical faces and a consram checking and revision of whac has ro an answer ro che quescion of why, in che same areas, che scandard of behaviour
betn seen previously chrough whac emered later inro che field of observacion. and che psychical habims of \i(!escern peoples change
And elms che individual pans of chis smdy, ics scrucrure and mechod, will \\it see, for example, che social landscape of che early Middle Ages. There is
probably be complecely intelligible only when chey are perceived in cheir a multimde of greater and smaller castles; even che rown secclemems of earlier
emirecy. Ic muse suffice here ro facilirnce the reader's underscanding by picking
om a few problems. '''This expression should nor bt undtrsrood ro mean that all rht indiviJual phases of a society s
Pare Two comains a number of stries of txamples. They strve ro show history art reproduced in rht history of the civilized individual. Nothing would be more absurd than
rn look for an ";.u.::n1rian feudal age or a .. Renaissance or a "courdy-absolurisr period in die lift of
developmem in an acceleraced fashion . In a few pages we see how in che course
individuals. All of this kind refer w rht structure of whole social groups
of centuries the scandard of human behaviour on che same occasion very
\\/hat must be pointed out here is rht simple fact that even in civilized socitty no human beings
gradually shifrs in a specific direccion. \i(!e see people ac cable, we see chem going come into rhe world civilized, and chat the individual civilizing process char they compulsor!ly
ro bed or in hoscile clashes . In chese and ocher elememary accivicies che manner un<lergo is a function of rhe social civilizing process Therefore. the srrucrure of a child's affecrs and
in which individuals behave and feel slowly changes. This change is in che consciousness no <loubr bears a certain resemblance rn that of "uncivilized' peoples, anJ rhe same

direccion of a gradual "civilizacion", bm only hisrorical experience makes clearer applies rn rhe psychological stratum in grown-ups which. with the advance of civilization is
subjecrtd rn more or less heavy censorship and consequendy finds an oudet in dreams, for example.
whac chis word acmally means. Ic shows, for example, che decisive role played in
But since in our society every human being is exposed from the first moment of life to rhe influence
chis civilizing process by a very specific change in che feelings of shame and and rhe moulding inrervenrion of civilized grown-ups. rhey muse indeed pass through a civilizing
delicacy. The srnndarcl of what is socially demanded and prohibited changes; in process in order reach the swndard arrninecl by rheir socitty in the course of irs history. bur not
conjunccion wich chis, che chreshold of socially inscilled displeasure and fear through the individual phases of rhe social civilizing process

rimes have become feudalizecL Their ctntres roo are formed by rhe castles and Thar is whar is arrempred here The sociogeneric and psychogeneric invesrigation
ts rares of lords from rhe \\ arrior class. The quesrion is: \Vhar art tbt secs of social sers om co reveal rhe order under! ying hiscorical rheir mechanics and rheir
relationships char press roward rhe development of whar we call the "feudal concrete mechanisms: and ir seems thar in rhis way a large number of quesrions
sysrem";, The anempr is made ro demonsuart some of rhese "mechanisms of char appear complicared or even beyond undersrnnding today can be given fairly
feudalizarion" \Ve set further how, from rhe casrle landscape, rogerhtr wirh a simple and precise answers.
number of free urban crafr and commercial serdements, a number of larger and For this reason, chis smdy also enquires inco rhe sociogenesis of rhe srnre.
richer feudal esrares slowly emerge . \Virhin rhe warrior class irself a kind of
There is. co rake one aspecr of rhe hiscory of rhe srnre's formarion and srrucrnre,
upper suamm forms more and more disrincdy; rheir dwelling-places are rhe real
the problem of the "monopoly of force". Max \Veber poinred om. mainly for rhe
cemres of minnesong and rhe lyrics of the rroubadours, on the one hand, and of
sake of definirion, char one of rhe consrimrive insrirnrions required by rhe social
c11i!rrois forms of beha\iour on rhe ocher If earlier in rhe book the CO!!rtois standard
organization we call a scare is a monopoly in the exercise of physical force. Here
of conduce is placed ar rhe scarring-point of a number of sequences of examples
an arcempr is made w reveal somerhing of rhe concrere hisrnrical processes
giving a picrnre of rhe subsequent change of psychical make-up, here we gain
which-from rhe rime when rhe exercise of force was rhe privilege of a host of
access ro rhe sociogenesis of rhese 1w1rtois forms of behaviour themselves.
rival warriors-gradually impelled society coward rhis cenrralizacion and mono-
Or we see, for example, how rhe early form of whar we call a 'scare" develops.
polizarion of rhe use of physical violence and its insrruments. It can be shown
In rhe age of absolurism, under rhe warchword of cil'i!iti, behaviour moves very
char rhe rendencv co form such monopolies in chis pasr epoch of our hiscory is
ptrcepribly rowards rht srnndard char we denote rodar by a derivative of rbe
neirher easier more difficulr w understand rhan, for example, rhe srrnng
word t"iri!itt as "civilized" behaviour. Ir therefore seems necessary, in elucidating
rendencv cowards monopolization in our own epoch And ir is rhen nor difficulr
this civilizing process. to obrnin a clearer picture of whar gave rise co rhe
absolmisr regimes and therefore co rhe absolurisr srnre. Ir is nor only rhe ro rhar, wirh chis monopolizarion of physical violence as rhe poinr of
observarion of rhe pasr rbar poims in chis direcrion: a wealrh of contemporary intersection of a mulrirnde of social inrerconnecrions, rhe whole appararns which
observations suggesrs srrongly char rhe suucrure of civilized behaviour is closely shapes individuals, rhe mode of operarion of rhe social demands and prohibirions
interrelated wirh rht organizarion of \Vesrern socieries in rhe form of scares. The which mould rheir social habirns, and above all rhe kinds of fear rhar play a pare
quesrion. in ocher words, is: How did rhe exrremely decenrralized society of rhe in rheir lives art decisively changed.
early Middle Ages, in which numerous grearer and smaller warriors were rhe real Finallv, Parr Four, "Towards a Theory of Civilizing Processes", underlines once
rulers of \Vesrern rerricory, become one of the internally more or less pacified bm more connecrions berween changes in rhe srrucrnre of sociery and changes in
ourwardly embarded societies rhar we call scares:. \Vhich dynamics of human rhe srrucrnre of people's behaviour and psychical habirns. Much of whar could
interdependencies push rowards rhe inregrarion of ever larger areas under a onlv be hinred ar earlier, in depicring concrere hisrnrical prncesses, is now scared
relarivel y srnble and centralized gcm:rnmenr appararns' ex;licidy \\le find here. for example, as a kind of rheorerical summing-up of
Ir may perhaps seem ar first sighr an unnecessary complicarion co invesrigare whar previously became evidem from rhe srudy of hiscorical documents, a short
rhe genesis of each hisrorical formarion. Bm since every hisrnrical phenomenon, sketch of rhe srrucrnre of rhe fears experienced as shame and delicacy: we find an
human arcirncles as much as social insri(Lltions, did ac(Llally once "develop", how explanarion of precisely why fears of chis kind play an especially imporrnnt role
can modes of rhoughr prnve eirher simple or adequare in explaining chest in rhe adYance of rhe ci\ilizing process; and at rhe same rime, some lighr is shed
phenomena if. by a kind of arrificial absrracrion, rhey isolare rhe phenomena on rhe formarion of rhe "super-ego" and on rhe relation of rhe conscious and
from their na(Llral, hiscorical flow, deprive chem of their character as movement unconscious impulses in rhe psyche of civilized people. Here an answer is giYen
and process, and try w understand rhem as srnric formations wirhout regard ro co rhe quesrion of hiscorical processes; rhe question of how all these processes,
rhe way in which they have come inco being and change:. Ir is nor theorerical consisring of norhing but the actions of individual people, neverrheless give nse
prejudice bm experience irself which urges us to seek inrellecrual ways and co insri(Llrions and formarions which were neirher inrended nor planned by any
means of steering a course berween rhe Scylla of chis "sraricism", which rends co single individual in the form rhey acrnally rake. And finally, in a broad survey.
express all hiscorical movement as something morionless and withom evolution, rhese insighrs from rhe pasr are combined inco a single picrnre wirh experiences
and rhe Charybdis of rhe "hiscorical relativism" which sees in hisrnry only from rhe present.
consrnnr rransformarion. wirhom penerraring co the order underlying chis This srndy rherefore poses and develops a very wide-ranging problem; ir does
rransformarion and co rhe laws governing rhe formation of hiscorical srrucrnres. nor prerend ro solve ir.
XIV Tht: Cfrilizing Process xv

Ic marks om a field of observation that has hitherto received relatively little hisrorical processes, of what might be called the "developmental mechanics of
attention, and undertakes the first steps toward an explanation. Others must hisrory", has become clearer to me, as has their relation ro psychical processes.
follow. Terms such as socio- and psychogenesis, affective life and drive-moulding,
Many guestions and aspects which presented themselves in the course of rhis c:xrernal and internal constraints, embarrassment threshold, social power, monop-
study I deliberately did not pursue. It was not so much my purpose to build a oly mechanism, and a number of others give expression ro this. Bm the least
general theory of civilization in rhe air, and then afterwards ro find om whether possible concession has been made to rhe necessirr of expressing ne\V things rhar
it agreed with experience; rather, it seemed the primary rask ro begin by have become visible through new words.
regaining within a limited area rhe lost perception of rhe process in question, rhe So much for the subject of this book
peculiar transformation of human behaviour, then ro seek a certain under- For rhe prc:sc:nt srudy and for a number of necessary preliminary investiga-
srancling of its causes and, finally, ro garher rogether such rheorerical insights as tions, I have received advice and support from many sides. Ir is my wish here ro
have been encountered on the way If I have succeeded in providing a rolerably rhank expressly all rhe people and insrirmions that have helped me.
secure foundation for further reflection and research in this direction, rhis study The enlargement of my Hahilitt1ti1111ssch1iji and an extended study of nobility,
has achieved everything it set our w achieve. Ir will need the thought of many royalty, and courtly society in France which is rhe basis of this book, was made
people and the co-operation of different branches of scholarship, which are often possible by rhe support of the Sreun-Fonds of Amsterdam. My thanks are due ro
divided by artificial barriers roday, gradually ro answer the questions that have rhis foundation, and ro Professor Frijda of Amsterdam and Professor Bougie of
arisen in the course of this study.. They concern psychology, philology, ethnology Paris for the great kindness and interest they showed mt during my work 111
and anthropology no less than sociology or the different special branches of Paris
hisrorical research For the period of my work in London I received rhe generous support of
However, rhe issues raised by the book have their origin less in scholarly \'Voburn House, London . To ir and above all ro Professor Ginsberg of London,
tradition, in the narrower sense of the word, than in the experiences in whose Professor A Loewe of Cambridge, and A. Makower, MA, of London I owe very
shadow we all live, experiences of the crisis and transformation of \'Vesrern great thanks. \'Virhom their help my work would not have come to fruition.
civilization as it had existed hirherro, and the simple need ro understand what Professor K. J\fannheim of London I thank for rhe help and advice he gave me.
this civilization .. really amounts m Bur I have nor been guided in this srudr br And I am nor least indebted to my friends Gisele Freund, D Phil., Paris;
the idea that our civilized mode of behaviour is rhe advanced of ail M.. Braun, D.Phil., Ph.D, Cambridge; A. Gli.icksmann, DMecl , Cambridge;
humanly possible modes of behaviour, nor by the opinion rhar "civilization" is H. Rosenhaupr, D.PhiL, Chicago; and R. Bonwir, London, for their help and
rhe worst form of life and one that is doomed. All rhar can be seen roclay is that for the discussions in which many things were made clear to me, and I thank
with gradual civilization, a number of specific civilizational difficulties ;rise Bu; them
it cannot be said rhar we alrtadv understand whv we acruallv rormtnt ourselves
in such ways . \'Ve feel rhar have got ourse,lves, rhtoug.h civilization, into September 19 _:;6 Norbert Elias
certain entanglements unknown ro less civilized peoples; bur we also know rhar
these less civilized peoples are for their part often plagued by difficulties and
fears from which we no longer suffer, or at least nor ro rhe same degree Perhaps
all this can be seen somewhat more clearly if it is unclersroocl how such civilizinu
processes actually rake place . Ar any rare: that was one of rhe wishes with
I set to work on this book. Ir may be that, through clearer unclersrancling, we
shall one clay succeed in making accessible ro more conscious control these
processes which roday rake place in and around us nor verv differendr from
natural events, and which we confront as medieval people forces
of nature.
I myself was obliged in the course of this srudv' ro revise mv, rhinkin"
on a
large number of points, and I cannot spare rhe reader from becoming acquainted
with a number of unfamiliar aspects and expressions. Above all, the nature of
Acknowledgements to the Editors' Note on the
English Translation* Revised Translation

This rranslarion could nor hano been produced wirhom rhe aid of mv friends. Reprinting rhe 199-i one-volume edirion of The Ci1i!isi11g Pm,"tSS afforded an
In parricular. Professor Johan Goudsblom has spenr a grear deal of and opporruniry w make some revisions rn the rext, and they prnved ro be rarher
efforr in comparing rhe English and German rexrs w ensure rhar rhe exacr more exrensive rhan we originally intended. Translarion is an imperfect arr, and
meaning has been imerprereJ. Eric Dunning has also rhroughom made a number rranslarini..; Norberr Elias's German imo English poses peculiar problems. They
of very useful suggesrions . The exercise of checking rhe rranslarion was in irself arise mai;ly from his arrempr always w write in a j>ron:SSfla! way, minimising rhe
a mosr useful one for me as ir enabled mt ro revise rhe rexr in minor. bm use of srntic conceprs, and also ro avoid referring ro 'rhe individual' in rhe
imporrnm, ways and ro add nores which ser rhe work in rhe comexr of mv larer sini..;ular and as somerhing separate from orher people-whar Elias was later w
rhinking . None of chis should be rnken as any reflecrion on rhe rran,slaror. call rhe homo c!1111s11s image, prevalent in \Vestern rhoughr. Edmund Jephcort's
Edmund Jephcon. ro \1hom I 0\1e rhe greatesr debt. My rhanks are also clue w fine translation of T /;, Ciri!izing Pn1ccss, publishtd in 19-8 and 1982. was one of
Johan and Maria Gouclsblom for reading the proofs and compiling rhe index. rhe earliesr of Elias's German writings ro appear in English, and since then there
Italics in the quotarions indicate the amhor's emphasis have been manr discussions among Elias scholars about the best ways of
rendering his id.eas \Ve have also had rhe advantage of being able ro consulr
Heike Hammer's definitive scholarly edirion of Ohu d.:11 P1ozeji der Zil'ilis{!fio11,
published by Suhrkamp in 1997.
Apart from correcring some major errors that had crept in, nornbly unscram-
bling the rexts of the excerprs from medieval manners books on behaviour ar
table. we have made a number of changes which we hope will clarify rhe text. For
instance, wririni..; in German in the 1930s, Elias frequently used rhe term
Hahiws, which tn rhe l 970s and early l 980s was quire unfamiliar in English,
and was therefore generally translared by expressions such as "personaliry
makeup ... Since rhen, particularly rhrough the \Hirings of Pierre Bourdieu, rhe
'i' This note of acknowledgt:mt:nt appeared in tht tirsr English translation of rht St,w1J Yolumt: of Tht more precise term "habirns .. has re-entered rhe vocabulary of anglophone social
Ci: ili:in,r.:. publisht:d in l
1.1, under thL rirlt Suh fr1m.'.!!ir1n ,mJ Ciz i!i::.1tilill (or. in the scienrists, and rherefore we have resrnred ir in the present rexr. Anorher example
Amt:rican edition . . as Pr1u .m) Ciz iii:_; J
is the word rittuifrh. which we render literally as "knightly .. rather rhan
XV Ill Th, Cil'i/i:;ing Pmass

"chirnlrous". since H most fundamenrally connotes a rather violenr way of life.

And we have in places reswrecl Elias's use of Freudian terminology, ro bring our
more clearly rhe influence of Freud which Elias always acknowledgc;cl ro have
been strong. In rhis revised translation. rhe word Trieu is rranslared as "drive". not
as "instinct"; Elias was one of rhe most important contriburors ro what are now
called "rhe sociology of emotions" and "the sociology of the body". and nothing VOLUME I
could be more misleading than ro convey rhe impression that his theory rests on
essentialist assumptions of rhe kind usually associated wirh rhe concept of
insrincrs. \\le have also wken rhe opportunity to make corrections ro rhe rexr of
Parts One and Two corresponding ro those which rhe aurhor, in consulrarion
wirh Johan Goudsblom, made in the English translation of Parts Three and Four
Towards rhe encl of his life, Elias also came to feel strongly that exclusively
masrnline expressions should be avoided where females as well as males are being
referred ro; we have made appropriate amendments. On rhe other hand, Elias in
rhe 19_'\0s used a number of concepts such as "mechanism'', "cause" and "law" of
which he became critical in the 1960s In these cases, we have generally left the UPPER CLASSES
original text unchanged, largely because Elias did not concern himself at length
with this issue in the 1968 Postscripr.
\\le have made extensi\e changes ro the tenses used in the text. In Uber dw
Pru::Lji d1:r Ziri!isatir1n, Elias wrote mL;ch of the time in the historic present which
is (or was) more acceptable in German than in English. where good style requires
rhat ir be used only sparingly for rhetorical effect For ex<1mple, Elias's historical
narrative of French hisrory in Parr Three has now been changed mostly into rhe
past tense; this should m<1ke ir easier for the reader to distinguish between when
Elias is providing narrative as empirical evidence (pasr rense) and when he is
drawing general theoretical conclusions from the evidence (present tense).
Hitherto, ir has been common for the two original volumes of the English
rranslarion to be misperceived as rwo separate or only loosely-connected books.
The sequence of contents in this revised one-volume edition has now been
amended to make clear rhar rhis is a single book, and ro bring ir inro line wirh
the German edition. The long introduction which Elias wrote in 1968, when
Ubc1 de11 Pm:;ej! i!t:r was first reprinted, appears here however as a
Posrscri pr-for rhar is what it is, the author's thoughts thirty years after he
wrote rhe book For most readers ir will perhaps make better sense ct/tff they have
read rhe book itself; bm readers who are looking for a general srarement of Elias's
intellectual position (subsequently developed in the many other books he wrote
in rhe 1970s and 1980s) should mm first to rhe Postscript.

Eric D1111ning
Johan Go11dsb!om
Stephen Mw11e!!
Amsterdam, Leicester and Dublin, July 1999
On the Sociogenesis
of the Concepts of
"Civilization" and
Sociogenesis of the Antithesis
Betiueen Kultur
Zivilisation zn Gerrnan Usage

l. The concepr of "civilizarion" refers ro a wide variery of faces: ro rhe leYel of
rechnology, ro rhe rype of manners, ro rhe developmem of sciemific knowledge,
ro religious ideas and cusroms . Ir can refer to rhe rype of dwelling or the manner
in which men and women live rogether, to rhe form of judicial punishmem, or
to rhe way in which food is prepared. Stricdy speaking, rhere is almosr norhing
which cannot be done in a "civilized" or an "uncivilized" way; hence, ir always
seems somewhar difficulr to summarize in a few words everything char can he
described as civilizarion.
Bm when one examines whar the general funcrion of rhe concepr of civilizarion
really is, and whar common quality leads all rhese various human arritudes and
acrivities ro be described as civilized, one scares wirh a very simple discovery: this
concepr expresses the self-consciousness of the \'Vest . One could even say: the
national consciousness. It sums up everything in which \'Vesrem society of the
last two or three centuries believes itself superior ro earlier societies or "more
primitive comemporary ones. By this term \'Vestem society seeks ro describe
what constitutes its special character and whar ir is proud of: rhe level of its
rechnology, rhe nature of its manners, rhe developmem of its sciemific knowledge
or view of rhe world. and much more.
6 Tht Ciz'ili:illg prr;(t;JS 7

' Bur "ci\ilizarion" doc:s nor mean rht same rhing ro different \Vesrtrn German concept of K!!lt11r, in current usage. has a differem rtlarion to morion . Ir
narions. Above alL rhere is a grtar difference berween tht English and French use refers to human produces which are rhtre like "flowers of rhe field", i ro works of
of rhe word. on rht one hand, and rhe German use of ir. on rhe orher. For rhe arr, books, religious or philosophical systems. in which rhe individuality of a
former, rhe concepr sums up in a single rerm rheir pride in rhe significance of people expresses itself. The concept of K!!lt!!r delimits.
rheir own narions for rhe progress of the \Vesr and of humankind. Bllt in To a ce:rrnin exrem, rhe concept of civilization plays down the national
German usage. Zirilis<1tio11 means somerhing which is indeed useful, bllt difforencts berwten peoples; ir emphasizes what is common to all human beings
neverrheless only a value of rhe second rank, comprising only rhe ollter or-in rhe view of irs bearers-should be:. Ir expresses rhe self-assurance of
appearance of human beings, the surface of human exisrence. The word rhrough peoples whose national boundaries and national idemiry have for centuries been
which Germans interpret rhemselves. which more rhan any orher expresses rheir so fully established char thty have ceased to be rhe subject of any parricular
pride in their own achievemems and rheir own being, is K!!ltm discussion, peoples which have long expanded omside rheir borders and colonized
3 A peculiar phenomenon: \vords like the English and French "civilization" or beyond rhem.
the German K!ilt!ir appear completely clear in rhe inrernal usage of the society ro In comrasr, rhe German concept of K!!lt11r places special suess on narional
which they belong. Bllt rhe way in which a piece of the world is bound up in differences and rhe particular identity of groups; primarily by virtue of chis, ir
them, the manner in which they include certain areas and exclude orhers as a has acquired in such fields as ethnological and amhropological research a
matter of course, rhe hidden evaluations which they implicitly bring with them, significance far beyond rhe German linguistic area and rhe situation in which rhe
all rhis makes them difficult ro define for any outsider concept originated. But char situation is rhe situation of a people which, by
The French and English concept of civilization can refer ro political or \X/esrern standards. arrived ar political unification and consolidation only very
economic, religious or technical. moral or social facts. The German concept of !art. and from whose boundaries, for cemuries and even down ro rhe presem,
K!!lt11r refers essemially ro intellectual. arrisric and religious facrs. and has a rerrirories have again and again crumbled away or rhrearened to crumble away.
rendency ro draw a sharp dividing line berween facrs of this sort, on the one side, \Vhereas rht concept of civilization has rhe function of giving expression ro rhe
and political. economic and social facrs. on the other. The French and English cominuously expansionist tendency of colonizing groups, rhe concept of K11!t11r
concept of civilization can refer to accomplishments, but it refers equally to the mirrors rhe self-consciousness of a nation which had consrnntly ro seek out and
atritudes or "behaviour" of people, irrespeeti\e of whether or nor they have consriture irs boundaries anew, in a political as well as a spiritual sense, and
accomplished anything In rhe German concept of K11!1Jir, by comrasr, rhe again and again had ro ask irself: "\Vhar really is our identiryY The orienrarion
reference ro "behaviour", to the value which a person has by virtue of his or her of rhe German concept of culture, wirh its tendency rowards demarcation and rhe
mere existence and conduct, without any accomplishment at all. is very minor. emphasis on and derailing of differences between groups, corresponds ro chis
The specifically German sense of rhe concept of K!!lt11r finds its clearest hisrorical process Tht questions "\Vhar is really French, \Vhar is really
expression in its deri\arive, the adjective l?l!!tur,/I. which dtscribesthe value and English, .. han'. long since ceased ro be a marrtr of much discussion for rhe
character of particular human products rather than rht imrinsic value of a person. French and English. But for cemuries rhe question "\X!liar is really German)" has
But chis word, the concept embodied rn lwlt!!rell, cannot be exactly rranslared nor been laid to resc One answer ro chis question--one among ochers-lies in a
inro French and English parricular aspect of rhe concept of K11!t1!I'
The word k!!ltiric1l (culrivartd) is very dost to rhe \Vesrern concept of 5 Thus rhe national self-images represemed by concepts such as K!!lmr and
civilization. To some exttm, ir reprtstms rhe highest form of being civilized. "civilization" rakt wry different forms. Bur however cliffe:renr rhe self-image of
Even people and families who have accomplished nothing k1tltmell can be rhe Germans, who speak wirh pride of their K11lt!!r, and char of rhe French and
lat!til'iert. Like rht term "civilized", k!!ltil'iert refers primarily to rhe form of English, who chink wirh pride of rheir "civilization", rhey all regard ir as
people's conduce or be:haviour. Ir describes a social quality of people:, rheir completely self-evidem char theirs is rhe way in which rhe world of humans in
housing, thtir manners, rheir speech, rheir clothing, unlike kitlt!!rell, which does general wants to be viewed and judged. The Germans can perhaps try ro explain
nor refer dire:ctly ro people themselves, but exclusively to particular human rn rhe French and English what rhey mean by rhe concept of Ku!t11r. But rhey can
accomplishments. communicate hardly anything of rhe specific national background and rhe self-
-4 Another difference between rhe rwo concepts is very closely bound up with evidenr emotional values which e:nvelop rhe word for chem.
chis . "Civilization" describes a proce:ss or ar lease rhe result of a process. Ir refers The French or English person can perhaps cell rhe German what elemems
ro something which is constantly in morion. consranrly moving "forward". The make rhe concept of civilization rhe sum of rheir national self-image. But
8 T/Je Cil'ilizi11g Pmass Changes in the Beh,tl'io11r of the Secular Uj>j1er Classt.r in the \\lest 9

however reasonable and rarional chis concepr may appear ro chem, ir roo grows funcrions and experiences in rhe acrnal life of society cease ro be bound up wiEh
OL!( of a specific sec of hisrorical simarions, ir too is surrounded by an emorional chem. Ar rimes, roo, rhey only sleep, or sleep in certain respecrs, and acquire a
and rradirional aura which is hard to define bl!( which neverrheless represents an new exisrenrial value from a new social sirnarion. They are recalled rhen because
integral pan of irs meaning. And rhe discussion really becomes fl!(ile when a somerhing in the presem stare of society finds expression in rhe crysrnllization of
German rries to show rhe French and English person why rhe concepr of rhe past embodied in rhe words.
Zil'ilisatio11 does indeed represem a value for him, bl!( onlv one of rhe second
6. Conceprs like rhese rwo have somerhing of rhe characrer of chose words
which from rime to rime make rheir appearance in some narrower group, such as
a family or a seer, a school class or an associarion, and which say much ro rhe
The Development of the Antithesis of
iniriare and lirde to rhe OL!(sider. rnke shape on rhe basis of common Kultur and Zivilisation 2
experiences . They grow and change wirh rhe group whose expression rhey are.
The simarion and hisrory of the group are mirrored in them. And they remain 7. Ir is clear char rhe function of rhe German concepr of K1t!t11r took on new
colourless, they never become fully alive for chose who do not share these life in rhe year 1919, and in the preceding years, partly because a war was waged
experiences, who do nor speak from the same tradition and the same simation. against Germany in rhe name of "civilization" and because rhe self-image of the
The conceprs of J\.1t!t11r and "civilizarion", to be sure, bear rhe srnmp not of Germans had to be defined anew in rhe sitllation creared by the peace rreaty
seers or families bl!( of whole peoples, or perhaps only of cerrnin classes of these Bm ir is jusr as clear, and can be proved, char ro a cerrain extent rhe historical
peoples. BL!( in many respecrs whar is rrue of rhe specific words of smaller groups sitllarion of Germany after rhe war only gave a new impulse ro an antirhesis
is also rrue of rhem: they are primarily used by and for people who share a which had long found expression through these rwo concepts, even as far back as
parricular rradirion and a parricular sirnarion. the eighreenth cenrnry.
Mathematical conceprs can be separared from the group which uses rhem. Ir seems to have been Kam who first expressed a specific experience and
Triangles may be explicable withol!( reference ro hisrorical situations. Concepts anrirhesis of his sociery in relared concepts. In 1784 he wrore in his Ideas 011 a
such as "ci\ilization" and Kl!ft11r are not. It may be rhat parricular individuals Unfrma! History ji"0111 the Point of V/1:11 of a Citizen of the \Vor!d: "Culrivared to a
formed them from rhe exisring linguisric material of their group, or at least gave high degree by arr and science, we are civilized to rhe poim where we are
rhem new meaning. BL!( rhey took roor. They became esrablished. Others picked overburdened wirh all sores of social propriery and decency
rhem up in rheir new meaning and form, developing and polishing them in "The idea of moraliry," he added, "is a parr of culrnre. Bm the application of
speech or wriring. They were tossed back and forrh until rhey became efficient chis idea, which resulrs only in the similirnde of moraliry in the love of honour
instrumems for expressing whar people had joindy experienced and wanted ro and in ourward decency, amoums only ro civilizing."
communicare. They became fashionable words, concepts current in rhe everyday Relared as this formularion of the amirhesis already seems, in rhe momem of
speech of a parricular society. This shows thar rhey met nor merely individual its genesis, ro our formularion, irs concrere poim of deparrnre in the experiences
bl!( shared needs for expression. The shared hisrory has crystallized in them and and situarion in rhe lace eighteemh century, rhough nor wirhour an hisrorical
resonares in rhem. Individuals find rhis crysrallizarion already in rheir possibil- connecrion to rhe experiences on which i rs presem-day use rests, is neverrheless
iries of use. They do nor know very precisely why rhis meaning and rhis significantly different. The comraposirion here, where rhe spokesmen of the
delimitarion are bound up wirh rhe words, why exacdy rhis nuance and rhar new developing German bourgeoisie, rhe middle-class German intelligemsia, 5 srill
possibiliry can be drawn from rhem. They make use of rhem because ir seems to spoke in large parr "from rhe point of view of a cirizen of the world", relared only
him a marter of course, because from childhood rhey learn to see rhe world vaguely and at besr secondarily ro a narional comrasr. Irs primary aspect was an
rhrough rhe lens of these conceprs. The social process of rheir genesis mav be imernal contrast wirhin the sociery, a social comrasr which nevertheless bore
long forgorren. One generarion hands them on ro another being wirhin irself in a significam way the germ of rhe narional conrraposirion: rhe
of rhe process as a whole, and the concepts live as long as rhis crystallizarion of comrasr between the courtly nobiliry, predominantly French-speaking and
pasr experiences and simarions retains an exisrential value, a function in the "civilized" on the French model, and a German-speaking, middle-class srrarnm
acrnal being of society-that is, as long as succeeding, generarions can hear their of intelligentsia recruired chiefly from the bourgeois "servers of princes" or
own experiences in rhe meaning of the words . The terms gradually die when rhe officials in rhe broadest sense, and occasionally also from rhe landed nobility.
10 The Cirili:::ing Pmcess Chd11ges ill the Beh,ll'io1ir of the Semlar Upper Classer ill the l l

This latter was a stratum far remon:d from political acriviry, scarcely thinking in passing, with a sigh of resignation After the middle of the century the rnne
in political terms and only tentatively in national ones, whose legitimation gradually changes . The self-legitimation of the middle classes by virtue and
consisted primarily in its imellectuaL scientific or artistic {mw11j1/ishmmts. accomplishment becomes more precise and emphatic, and the polemic against the
Coumerposed w it is an upper class which "accomplished" norhing in rhe sense external and superficial manners to be found in the courts becomes more explicic.
in which the ochers do, but for which rhe shaping of its distinguished and
disrincrive beharioi!r was central w irs self-image and self-justification . And this III
is the class which Kam has in mind when he spoke of being "civilized w rhe
point where we are overburdened", of mere "social propriety and decency", of Examples of Courtly Attitudes rn Germany
"the similitude of morality in the love of honour". It is in the polemic of the
9 Ir is not easy w speak of Germany in general, since at this time there were
stratum of the German middle-class intelligentsia against the etiquette of rhe
special characteristics in each of the many stares . But only a fow were eventually
ruling courtly upper class that the conceptual comraposition of Kllit11r and
decisive for the development of the country as a whole; the rest followed. And
Zirilisatio11 originated in Germany. But this polemic is older and broader than its
certain general characteristics were more or less clearly apparent everywhere.
crystallization in these rwo concepts
To begin with, there is the depopulation and the dreadful economic
8. It can be traced long before the middle of the eighteenth century, even if
devastation of the country after the Thirty Years \\Yar. In the seventeenth
only as an undertone in thought much more muted than after the middle of the
cemury, and even still in the eighteenth, Germany and in particular the German
century. A good idea of this can be obrainecl from the articles on Hof Hoflichkeit,
bourgeoisie were poor by French and English standards. Trade, and especially rhe
and Hofman!! (Court. Courtesy, Courtier), too long to be reproduced here in foll, foreign trade which was highly developed in parts of Germany in the sixteenth
in the Zecl/1:r Unin:nal L1:xico11 of 1736.' cenwry, was in ruins. The huge wealth of the great mercantile houses had been
destroyed, partly by the shift in trade romes due ro the overseas cliscowries, and
Courtesy undoubtedly gets its name from the court and court lift . The courts of great partly as a direct consequence of the long chaos of the war. \\/hat w<lS left was a
lords are a theatre where e\eryone wants to make his fortune This can only be done by small-town bourgeoisie with narrow horizons, living essentially by supplying
,,inning the favour of the prince and the most important people of his court One local needs
therefore rakes all concei,able pains to make oneself agreeable w them . Nothing does There was not much money available for luxuries such as literature and arc In
this better than making the other believe that we are ready to serve him to the utmost rhe courts, wherever there was enough money to do so, people inadequately
of our capacity under all conditions. Nevertheless, we are not always in a position to imitated the conduct of the court of Louis XIV and spoke French. German, the
do this, and may not want rn, often for good reasons. Courtesy serves as a substirnte for language of the lower and middle classes, was unwieldy and awkward. Leibniz,
all this By it \\'t gin: rhe other so much reassurance, through our outward show, that Germany's only courtly philosopher, the only great German of this rime whose
he has a favourable anticipation of our readiness to serve him. This wins us the other's name won acclaim in wider courtly circles, wrote and spoke French or Larin,
rrusr, from which an affecrion for us develops imperceptibly, as a result of which he seldom German . And the language problem, the problem of what could be clone
becomes eager to do good to us. This is so common with courtesy that it gives a special with chis awkward German language, occupied him as it occupied many
advanrnge w him who it. To be sure, it should really be ability and virtue
or hers.
which earn us people's esteem But ho,, tf=w are the correct judges of these two! And
French spread from the courts to the upper layer of the bourgeoisie. All
how many fewer hold them ,,orthy of honour' People. all too concerned with exrernals,
ho1metes gew (decent people), all people of "consequence" spoke ir. To speak
are for more moved by what reaches their senses externally, especially \\hen the
French was the status symbol of all the upper classes.
accompanying circumstances are such as particularly affect their will. This works out
In 1730, Gottschecl's bride wrore ro her betrothed: "Nothing is more plebeian
exactly in the case of a courtier.
than to write lerrers in German."j
If one spoke German, it was considered good form w introduce as many
Simply, without philosophical interprerarion and in clear relarion w specific French words as possible. In 17.:\0, E de Mauvillon wrore in his Let/ri:s Fnmruises
social configurations, rhe same antithesis was here expressed which eventuated in d G1:r111a11iq11es: "It is only a few years since one did nor say four words of German
Kam, refined and deepened, in the antithesis of culture and civilization: without two of French." That was ft be! 11.f{Jge (good usage). 1' And he had more ro
deceptive external "courtesy" and true "virtue" But the author only spoke of chis say abour the barbaric quality of the German language. Its nature, he said, was

"d'em: rude er barbare" (robe rude and barbarous). There were rhe Saxons, who Germany's impoverishment as a result of continuous wars, and of the inadequate
asserted "qu'on parle mieux L>\llemand en Saxe, qu'en aucun aurre endroir de development of trade and the bourgeoisie
!'Empire" (German is spoken bener in Saxony rhan in any ocher. parr of rhe "Ir is", he said, "not ro rhe spirit or the genius of rhe nation rhat one must
Empire). The Austrians made rhe same assertion in regard ro themselves, as did attribute rhe slight progress we haw made, but we should lay rhe blame only on
rhe Bavarians. rhe Brandenburgers and rhe Swiss. A few scholars, Mauvillon a succession of sad events, a srring of wars which have ruined us and left us poor
continued. wanted to esrnblish rules of grammar, bur "ii est difficile, qu'une in men as well as money...
Narion. qui contient clans son sein rant de Peuples independans Jes uns des He spoke of the slowly beginning recovery of prosperity: "The Third Estate no
aurres. se soumerre aux decisions d'un perit nombre des Savans" (it is difficult for longer languishes in shameful degradation. Fathers educate their children
a nation that embraces so many peoples independent of one anod1er to submit ro wirhom going into debt.. Behold, a beginning has been made in the happy
rhe decisions of a small number of sal'ai/fs) rernlution which we await." And he prophesied that with growing prosperity
Here as in many other fields, a small, powerless, middle-class intelligentsia fell there would also come a blossoming of German art and science, a civilizing of rhe
heir to rasks which in France and England were undertaken largely by rhe court Germans which would give them an equal place among the other nations: this was
and rhe aristocratic upper class. Ir was learned middle-class "servers of princes" the happy revolution of which he spoke. And he compares himself ro Moses, who
who first arrempred to create, in a particular intellectual class, models of what saw rhe new blossoming of his people approaching without experiencing ir.
German was, and thus ro esrablish at least in this intellecrual sphere a German 11 . \Vas Frederick right; A year after the appearance of his work, in 178 l,
unity which did nor yer seem realizable in rhe political sphere. The concept of Schiller's Die Rd!!bcr and Kant's Cririql!t (jf Pmc RcllJ()// appeared, ro be followed
Ku!t111 had rhe same function. in 1787 by Schiller's Don Carlos and Goethe's lj1higt11it. There followed the whole
Bur ar first most of what he saw in Germany appeared crude and backward ro blossoming of German literature and philosophy which we know. All of this
Mauvillon, an observer grounded in French civilization He spoke of rhe seems to confirm his prediction.
literature as well as rhe language in rhese rerms: "Milron, Boileau, Pope, Racine, But this new blooming had been long in preparation. The German language
Tasso. Moliere, and practically all poets of consequence have been rranslared inro did nor achieve its new expressive power in two or rllfee years. In 1780, when De
mosr European languages; your poets, for rhe most part, are themselves only !t1 !ittiwt11rt al!u11t1mk appeared, this language had long ceased to be the half-
translators." barbaric "parois" of which Frederick spoke. A whole collection of works ro which
He went on: "Name me a creative spirit on your Parnassus, name me a rodav, in rerrospecr, we assign considerable importance had already appeared.
German poer who has drawn from his own resources a work of some repurarion; Giit;:; l'Oll Ber!ichi11gt11 had been produced seven years earlier, \Vtrthe1 was
I you m "8 in circulation, Lessing had already published rhe major part of his dramatic and
theoretical works, including L@k()OI/ in 1766 and Die Ht1ll!bl!rgische Dm111at11rgie
l 0. One might say that this was the unauthoriratin: opinion of a badly
in l 76 7 Frederick died in 1781, a year after rhe appearance of his book.
informed Frenchman. But in 1780, forry years after Mauvillon and nine years
Klopstock's writings had been published much earlier; his 1\lwim appeared in
before the French Revolution, when France and England had already passed
l 748. This is without counting Herder, many of the St1m111111d Drang (Srorm and
through decisive phases of their cultural and national development, when rhe
Suess) plays. and a whole collection of widely read novels such as Sophie de la
languages of the rwo \\Jesrern countries had long since found their classic and
Roche's Dc1s F1d11!ci11 rn11 Sten1hcim . There had long since developed in Germany
permanent form, Frederick the Great published a work called De la !ittimture
1 a class of buyers. a bourgeois public-even if still a relatively small one-which
a!l1:11Ja11de.' in which he lamented the meagre and inadequate development of
was interested in such works . \\Javes of great inrellectual excitement had flowed
German writing, made approximately rhe same assertions about the German
over Germany and found expression in articles, books, plays, and other works
language as Mauvillon, and explained how in his opinion this lamentable
'I he German language had become rich and flexible
situation might be remedied.
Of all this Frederick gave no hint in his work. He either did not see it or
Of the German language he said: "I find a half-barbarous language, which
assigned it no significance. He mentioned only a single work of the young
breaks down into as many different dialects as Germany has provinces . Each local generation, the greatest work of the period of St!!rm i!lld Drang and enthusiasm
group is convinced that its parois is the best." He described the low estate of for Shakespeare, Giitz rn11 Berlichi11ge11. He mentioned it. characteristically, in
German literature and lamented the pedantry of German scholars and rhe meagre connection with the education and forms of enterrainmenr of the basses dmses, the
development of German science. Bur he also saw the reasons for ir: he spoke of lower strata of the population:
1-1 Changes in the Bcha1io111" of tht Sem!ar UPJ1er Classes in the \Vest 15

To cominu: yourself of the Lick of rnsre ,,-hich has reigned in Germany until our day, suucmre of chis court society, whose policical insritutions and interests were
nm onh need go rn rht public spccracles There you will see presented the abominable
multifariously fissured, bur whose social stratification was into esrares whose
works of Shakespeare. translated into our language: the whole audic:nce goes into
wsre, sryle and language were by and large the same rhroughour Europe.
rapmrts when it listens rn these ridiculous farces \\"Orthy of rhe savages of Canada. I
The peculiarities of this situation occasionally produced inner conflicts in the
describe them in chest terms because rhey sin against all rhe rules of rht theatre, rules
which are nor at all arbitrary, voung Frederick, as he slowly became aware rhar the interests of the ruler of
Louk ar the porters and gravediggers who come on sragt and make speeches worthy Prussia could nor always be brought into accord with reverence for France and
of them: after them come the kings and queens How can such a jumble of lowliness adherence ro courtly cusroms. 10 Throughout his life they produced a certain
and grandeur, of buffoonery and tragedy. be rnuching and pleasing' disharmony between what he did as a ruler and what he wrote and published as
One can pardon Shakespeare for these bizarre errors: rhe beginning of rhe arts is a human being and philosopheL
never their point of maturity The feelings of the German bourgeois intelligentsia towards him were also
But then look at Gi11: z 011 making its appearance on stage, a detestable somerimes correspondingly paradoxical. His military and political successes gave
imitation of these bad English pieces, while the public applauds and enthusiastically rheir self-identity as Germans a tonic it had long lacked, and for many he became
demands the repetition of these disgusting stupidities
a national hero. Bur his attitude in matters of language and taste, which found
expression in his work on German lirerarnre though by no means there alone,
And he continued: "Afrer having spoken of the lower classes, it is necessary for was exactly what the German intelligentsia, precisely as a German intelligentsia,
me to go on wirh rhe same frankness in regard ro rht universities." had to tight against.
12 The man who spoke rhus was rhe man who did more than any of his Their situation had its analogue in almost all rhe greater German scares and in
contemporaries for the poli rical and economic development of Prussia and manv of the smaller ones as well. At the rop almost everywhere in Germany were
perhaps indirectly for the political dewlopment of Germany, Bm rhe intellectual indi;,iduals or groups who spoke French and decided policy. On the other side,
tradition in which he grew up and which found expression through him was the rhere was a German-speaking intelligentsia, who by and large had no influence
common tradition of Europe's "good society", rhe aristocratic tradition of on political developments. From their ranks, essentially, came the people on
prenarional court society, He spoke its language, French. By the standard of its whose account Germany has been called the land of poets and thinkers. And
taste he measured rht intellectual life of Germany Irs prescribed models from them concepts such as Bdd1111g and K!!ltm received their specifically German
determine his judgement_ Others of this society had long spoken of Shakespeare imprint and tenor.
in a way altogether similar to his. Thus, in 17 30, Volrnire gave expression to very
similar thoughts in the Dijmms Jiii' la which introduced rhe tragedy IV
Bmt11s: "I cerrainly do nor pretend to approve rhe barbarous irregularities with
which it [Shakespeare's tragedy J!!li!!s Cesc1r] is filled. It is only surprising that The Middle Class and the Court Nobility in Germany
there are nor more in a work composed in an age of ignorance by a man who did
nor even know Larin and had no reacher except his own genius.-- 13 It would be a special project (and a very fascinating one) to show how much
\Vhar Frederick the Grtat said about Shakespeare was, in fact, the standard rhe specific mental orientation and ideals of a courtly-absolutist society found
opinion of the French-speaking upptr class of Europe. He did nor "copy" or expression in classical French tragedy, which Frederick rhe Great counterposes to
''plagiarize" Volrnire; what he wrore was his sincere personal opinion. He rook no rhe Shakespearean tragedies and GO!z" The importance of good form, the specific
pleasure in the rude and uncivilized jests of gravediggers and similar folk, the mark of every genuine ''sociery"; rhe control of individual feelings by reason, a
more so if they were mixed in with the great tragic sentiments of princes and viral necessity for every courtier; rhe reserved behaviour and elimination of every
kings. He felt that all of this had no clear and concise form; these were the plebeian expression, rhe specific mark of a particular srage on rhe road to
"pleasures of the lower classes", This is the way in which his comments are w be "civilization"-all chis finds its purest expression in classical tragedy. What must
understood; they are no more and no less individual than rhe French language he be hidden in court life, all vulgar feelings and attitudes, everything of which
used Like it, they bore wirness to his membership in a particular society.. And "one" does nor speak, does not appear in tragedy either" People of low rank,
the paradox that while his politics were Prussian his aesrheric tradition was which for chis class also means of base character, have no place in ic Its form is
French (or, more precisely, absolurisr-courtly) is less great than rhe nationally clear, transparent, precisely regulated, like etiquerre and court life in generaL 11
uni tied concepts of the present day may suggest. It is bound up with rhe special Ir shows rhe courtly people as rhey would like to be and, at rhe same rime, as rhe
16 Th1: Cizi/i;:;il!g Proo:ss Changer in the Behmio11r o/ the Semlar U/1/1er Classes in the \Fe.rt 17

absolme prince wams ro set them And all who lived under the impress of this out the qualities of che heart withom any preference for the nobles and the
social simation, be they English or Prussian or French, had their taste forced imo 12
the same panern. Even Dryden. next co Pope the best-known courdy poet of The whole literary movement of the second half of the eighteenth century was
England, wrote about earlier English drama in the epilogue ro the Collqmst of the product of a social class-and, accordingly, of aesthetic ideals-which was in
Gm11,tdt1 very much in the vein of Frederick the Great and Voltaire: opposition ro Frederick's social and aeschetic inclinations. Thus, they had
nothing ro say w him, and he therefore overlooks the vital forces already ac[!ve
now arri,eJ to <l n1ore high degree;
around him and condemned what he could not overlook, like Gi1tz. This German
Our nari\'e language more refined and free,
lirerarv movement, whose exponents included Klopsrock, Herder, Lessing, the
Our ladies and our men now speak more wir
poets St11rm 1md Dmng, the poets of "sensibility", and the circle known as die
In conversarion. rhan rhose poers wrir
Gifttinger Hain, the young Goethe, the young Schiller, many others, was
The connection with social stratification is p<1rticularly clear in this aesthetic certainly no political movement. \'Vith isolated excepcions, one finds in Germany
judgement. Frederick, roo, defends himself against the tastelessness of juxtaposing before 1789 no idea of concrete political action, nothing reminiscent of the
on the stage the "tragic grandeur" of princes and queens and the "baseness" of formation of a political party or a political party programme. One does find,
porters and gravediggers. How could he have undersrood and approved a particularly in Prussian officialdom, proposals and also che practical beginning
dramatic and literary work which had cemral ro it precisely the struggle against of reforms from the standpoint of enlightened absolutism. In the work of
class differences, a work which was intended w show that not merely the sorrows philosophers such as Kant one finds the development of general basic principles
of princes and kings and the courdy arisrocracy but those of people lower on the which were. in part, in direct opposicion ro the prevailing conditions In the
social scale have their greatness and their tragedy' writings of che young generacion of the G&tti11gtl' Hain one finds expressions of
In Germany, too, the bourgeoisie slowly became more prosperous. The King of wild hatred directed against princes, courts, arisrocrats, "Frenchifiers", courtly
Prussia saw this and promised himself that it would lead to an awakening of an immoralicv and intellecrual frigidity. And everywhere among middle-class yomh
and science. a "happy revolution... Bur this bourgeoisie spoke a different one finds dreams of a new united Germany, of a "natural" life-'' natural"
language from the king. The ideals and taste of the bourgeois youth, the models as opposed ro the "unnatural" life of court society-and again and again an
for its behaviour. were almost the opposite of his . owrwhelming delight in their own exuberance of feeling .
In Dichtm1g ifl}{i \Vi1hrh1:it (Poetry c111d Tr!!fh), Book 9. Goethe wrote: "In Thou<'hts feelin<>s-nothing which was able in any sense to lead to concrere
Strasbourg, on the French border, we were at once freed from the spirit of the politicai" structure this absolutist of petty states offered no
French. \'Ve found their way of lift much roo ordered and roo aristocratic. d1eir opening for ir. Elements within the bourgeoisie gained self-assurance, bm the
poetry cold. their criticism destructive, their philosophy abstruse and unsatisfy- framework of the absolute states was completely unshaken. The bourgeois
1ng tlemenrs were excluded from any political activity. At most, they could "think
He wrote GiJt;:; from this mood. How could Frederick the Great, the man of and write" independently; they could not act independently.
enlightened, rational absolmism and arisrocratic-courdy rnste, have undersrood In this situation, writing became the most important outlet Here the new
it' How could the Kinghave approved the dramas and theories of Lessing. who self-confidence and the \"<1gue discoment with what existed find a more or less
praised in Shakespeare precisely what Frederick condemned: that his works fitted covert expression. Here, in a sphere which the apparatus of the absolme srntes
the taste of the people far more than do the French classics' had surrendered to a certain extent, the young middle-class generation counter-
"If someone had translated the masterpieces of Shakespeare . for our posed its new dreams and oppositional ideas, and with them the German
Germ<rns, I know well that it would have a better result than thus making them language, to the courtly ideals.
acquaimed with Corneille or Racine. ln the first place, the people would take far As has been said, the literary movement of the second half of the eighteemh
more delight in him than in them ... century was not a political one, bm in the fullest sense of the word it was the
Lessing wrote this in his Letttrs Co11c1:mi11g the Most Recwt Literat11n (part I, expression of a social movement, a transformation of society. The bourgeoisie as
letter 17). and he demanded and wrote bourgeois dramas, appropriace w the newly a whole did not yet find expression in it. IL was at first the expression of a sort
awakening self-consciousness of the bourgeois classes, because courtly people did of bourgeois vanguard, what is here described as the middle-class intelligentsia:
not have che exclusive privilege ro be great. "This hateful distinction which men many individuals in the same posirion and of similar social origin scattered
have made between themselves", ht says. "is not known to nature. She parcels throughout che country, individuals who understood one another because they
18 Tht Cirilizi11g Procw Changts in the Bthc11iour of the Semfm Upptr Classes i11 tht \Fest 19

were in the same position Only occasionally did individual members of this was a blacksmith. 1 ; his grandfather a tailor, then an innkeeper with a courtly
vanguard find themselves rogether in some place as a group, for a shorrer or clientele and courtly-bourgeois manners. Already well-ro-do, his father became
longer time; often they lived in isolation or solirnde, an elite in relation ro the an imperial counsellor. a rich bourgeois of independent means, with a title. His
people. persons of the second rank in the eyes of the courtly arisrocracy. mother was the daughter of a Frankfurt patrician family.
Again and again one can see in these works the connecrion between this social Schiller's father was a surgeon. later a badly paid major; his grandfather, great-
sirnation and the ideals of which they spoke: the love of narnre and freedom, the granclfather, and great-great-grandfather were bakers. From similar social origins,
solirary exalration. the surrender ro the excitement of one's own hearr, now closer, now farther off, from the crafts and the middle administration, came
unhindered by "cold reason" In \Ftrthtr, whose success shows how typical these Schubart, Bi.irger, Winckelmann, Herder, Friedrich August \Xlolff, Fichte and
sentiments were of a parricular generation, it was occasionally said quite many orher members of this movement.
unequivocally. 14. There was an analogous movement in France. There, roo, in conjunction
In the lerter of 24 December 1771, one reads: 'The resplendent misery, the with a similar social change, a profusion of oursranding people emerged from
boredom among the detesrable people gathered rogerher here, the competition middle-class circles. They included Volraire and Diderot. Bur in France these
for rank among them, the way they are consrantly looking for a chance ro get a ml ems were received and assimilared with om great difficulty by the large court
step ahead of one another... society of Paris. In Germany, on the other hand, sons of the rising middle class
And under 8 January 1772: "\Xlhat son of people are rhese whose whole soul who were distinguished by ralent and intelligence were debarred, for the most
is rooted in ceremonial, and whose thoughts and desires the year round are part, from courrly-arisrocratic life . A few, like Goethe, achieved a kind of
centred on how they can move up a chair at rable . " elevation ro these circles. Bm aside from rhe fact that the court at \Xleimar was
Under 15 March 177 2: "I gnash my reerh I ear at the Count's house and small and relatively poor. Goethe was an exception. By and large, rhe walls
afrer dinner we walk back and forth in the greaE park. The social hour between the middle-class intelligentsia and rhe arisrocratic upper class in
approaches. I think, Goel knows, about norhing.'' He remains, the nobles arrive. Germany remained, by \Vesrern standards, very high. In 1740 the Frenchman
The women whisper, something circulates among the men. Finally the Count, J\fauvillon noted that "one observes in the German gentleman an air that is
somewhat embarrassed, asks him ro leave. The nobility feel insulted at seeing a haughty ro the point of arrogance. Sviollen with a lineage the length of which
bourgeois among them. they are always ready ro prove, they despise anyone nor similarly endowed.
"'You know' ", says the Count, " 'I notice that the company is displeased at Seldom", he continues, "do they contract 111esallia11m. Bm no less seldom are they
seeing you here.' . . I srole away from the distinguished company, and drove ro seen behaving simply and amiably rowards middle-class people. And if they
M., ro watch the sunset from the hill there while reading in my Homer the noble spurn connubiality with them, how much less do they seek om their company,
song of how Ulysses was hospitably received by the excellent swineherds.'' whatever their merit may be." 1 '
On the one hand, suptrficialiry, ceremony, formal conversation; on the orhtr, In this particularly sharp social division between nobility and middle class, ro
inwardness, depth of feeling, immersion in books, development of the individual which countless documents bear witness. a decisive facror was no doubt the
personality. Ir is the same contrast which was expressed by Kam in rhe antithesis relative indigence of both. This impelled the nobles ro cut themselves off, using
between Kllit11r and Zin!isation, relating ro a very specific social situation. proof of ancestry as the most important instrument for presening their
In \Ferthtr, Goethe also shows particularly clearly the two fronts between privileged social existence. On the other hand. ir blocked ro the German middle
which the bourgeoisie lives. "\'Vhar irritates me most of all" we read in the emrv cL1ss the main roure by which in the \Xlesrern countries bourgeois elements rose,
of 24 December 1771, "is our odious bourgeois situation. be sure, I know ;s intermarried with, and were received by rhe arisrocracy: through money.
well as any other how necessary class differences are, how many advantages I owe Bm whatever rhe causes-they were doubtless highly complex--of this very
ro them myself, only they should nor stand directly in my way." Nothing better pronounced separation, the resulting lo\V' degree of fusion of the courtly-
characterizes middle-class consciousness than this sratement. The doors below arisrocraric models with their "ascriptive", "quality-based" values on the one
must remain shut. Those above must open. And like any other middle class, this hand with bourgeois values based on achievement on rhe other, had a decisive
one was imprisoned in a peculiarly middle-class way: it could nor think of influence for long periods on rhe emergent national character of the Germans.
breaking clown the walls that blocked rhe way up, for fear that those separating This division explains why a main linguistic stream, the language of educated
it from the lower strara might also give way in the assault. Germans, and almost the entire recent intellectual tradition expressed in
The whole movement was one of upward mobility: Goethe's great-grandfather literature received their decisive impulses and their sramp from a middle-class
20 The Cil'ilhing Process Clxll!gts i11 th1: Behario11r o/ tht Stmlar U/Jjitr C!t1sses in the \Fest 21

intellectllal stra(Llm which was far more purely and specifically middle-class than slfuc(Llre and life of rhe middle class, on rhe one hand, and rhe courtly upper
the corresponding French imelligemsia and even than the English, the latter class, on rhe other. were marched by differences in the structure of behaviour.
seeming ro occupy an intermediate position between those of France and emotional life, aspirations and morality: they show-necessarily one-sidedly-
Germany how rhese differences were perceived in rhe middle-class camp.
The gesture of self-isolation, rhe accentuation of the specific and distinctive, An example of this is rhe well-known now! by Sophie de la Roche. Das
which was seen earlier in the comparison of the German concept of KH!t11r with frdl!iei11 ro11 Sttmheim, 10 which made the authoress one of the most celebrated
\Xlesrern .. civilization", reappears here as a characrerisric of German historical women of her rime. 11y whole ideal of a young woman, wrote Caroline
development. Flachsland ro Herder after reading Stt111hcim, .. gentle, delicate, charitable, proud,
Ir was nor only externally rhar France expanded and colonized early in virtuous, and deceived I have spent precious, wondcrfol hours reading the book..
comparison with Germany. Internally, roo, similar movements are frequently Alas, how far I still am from my ideal, from myself... !<>
seen throughout her more recent history. Particularly important in rhis connec- The curious paradox rhar Caroline Flachsland, likt many others of similar
tion is rhe diffusion of courdy-arisrocraric manners, rhe tendency of the courtly make-up, loved her own suffering-that she included being deceived, along with
arisrocracy to assimilate and, so ro speak, colonize elements from other classes. charity, pride and vir(Lle, among rhe feamres of rhe ideal heroine whom she
The social pride of rhe French aristocracy was always considerable, and rhe stress wished ro resemble-is highly characteristic of rhe emotional condition of rhe
on class differences never lost its importance for them. Bur rhe walls surrounding middle-class intelligentsia, and particularly of rhe women among them, in the
rhtm had more openings; access ro rhe aristocracy (and thus rhe assimilation of age of sensibility.. The middle-class heroine was deceived by the aristocratic
other groups) played a far greater role here than in Germany. courtier The warning. rhe fear of rhe socially superior "seducer .. who could nor
The most vigorous expansion of the German empire occurred, by contrast, in marry rhe girl because of rhe social discrepancy between rhem, and rhe secret
rhe .!\fiddle Ages. From that rime on, rhe German Reich diminished slowly bur wish for his approach, the fascination rhar lay in rhe idea of penetrating rhe
steadily. Even before rhe Thirty Years \Xlar and more so after it, German closed and dangerous circle, finally rhe identifying empathy with rhe deceived
rerrirories were hemmed in on all sides, and strong pressure was exerrecl on almost girl: all this is an example of rhe specific ambivalence which beset rhe emotional
all rhe external frontiers . Correspondingly, the struggles within Germany between life of middle-class people-and nor only women-with regard ro the aris-
the various social groups competing for limited opporrnniries and auronomy, and tocracy. Dc1.1 Fr,i'l!ici11 mn Sta11heim is, in this respect, a feminine counterpart of
therefore rhe tendencies rowards disrincrion and mumal exclusiveness. were \Vuthtr Both works point to specific entanglements of their class, which found
generally more intense rhan in the expanding \Xlestern countries. As much as rhe expression in sentimentality, sensibility and related shades of emotion
fragmentation of the German territory into a multiplicity of sovereign stares, ir The problem presented in the novel: A high-minded country girl, from a
was this extreme isolation of large pans of the nobility from the German middle family of landed gentry with bourgeois origins, arrives at court. The Prince,
class rhar srnod in rhe way of rhe formation of a unified, model-setting central related ro her on her mother's side, desires her as his mistress. Having no other
society, which in other countries attained decisive importance at least as a stage escape. she seeks refuge with rhe .. scoundrel" of rhe novel, an English lord living
on rhe way ro nationhood, setting irs stamp in cerrain phases on language, on the ar rhe court, who speaks just as many middle-class circles would have imagined
ans. on manners and on the srrucrure of emotions. an .. ,1ristocraric seducer" to speak. and who produces a comic effect because he
urrers middle-class reproaches ro his type as his own thoughts . Bur from him.

v roo. rhe heroine preserves her virtlle, her moral superiority, the compensation for
her class inferiority, and dies.
This is how the heroine, Friiulein von Srernheim, rhe daughter of an ennobled
Literary Examples of the Relationship of the German colonel, speaks: 1-
Middle-Class Intelligentsia to the Court To see how rhe wne. rhe modish spirit of rhe court suppresses rhe noblest movemems
of a hearr of admirable narure. w see how moiding rhe sneers of rhe ladies and
15. The books of the middle classes which had great public success after the gemlemen of fashion means laughing and agreeing wirh chem. fills me wirh comempr
mid-eighteenth century-that is, in rhe period when these classes were gaining and piry. The rhirsr for amusemem. for new finery, for admiration of a dress. a piece of
in prosperity and self-assurance-show very clearly how strongly this dis- furnirure. a new noxious dish-oh. my Emilie. how anxious and sick my soul grows
similarity was felt They also demonstrate rhar the differences between the I will nor speak of rhe false ambition thar harches so many base imrigues. grovels
Changes in the Beh:1riom of the Swt!ar Uj1per Classes in the \Vi:st

before vice ensconced in prosperiry. regards virrue and merir wirh. conrempr. and I am almosr rhankful for rhe prudence rhar compels me ro keep you far from rhe circle
unfeelingly makes orhers wrerched. in which I became unhappy A serious. sound formarion of rhe mind is rare in high
sociery. You might have become a lirrle doll rhar danced ro and fro ar rhe side of
"I am convinced. Aunt ... she says after a few days of court life. 'rhar life ar
court does nor suir my characrer l\fy rasre, my inclinarions. diverge from ir in
every way. And I confess to my gracious aunt rhar I would leave more happily
And rhe heroine says of herself: 21
than I came."
"Dearest Sophie", her aunt rells her, "you are really a most charming girl, bm J knew bur little of conventional life and rhe language of worldly people. J\fy simple
rhe old vicar has filled your head wirh pedantic ideas. Ler go of rhem a lictle." 1s principles found many things paradoxical to which a mind made pliable by habit is
In another place Sophie wrices: 'My love of Germany has just involved me in reconciled wirhour efforr. To me it was as natural as thar night follows day to lament
a conversarion in which I soughc to defend rhe merics of my Facherland. I ralked rhe deceived girl and hare the deceiver. to prefer virrue ro honour and honour to one's
so zealously thac my aunt told me afterwards chac I had given a pretty own advanta;e In rhe judgement of rhis sociery I saw all these norions merrurne<l.
demonscracion of being che granddaughcer of a professor This reproach vexed
me. The ashes of my facher and grandfather had been offended." She rhen sketches rhe prince. a product of French civilization: 22
The clergyman and rhe professor-chese are indeed rwo of rhe mosc imporrant
representatives of rhe middle-class adminisrrarive intelligentsia. cwo social The prince was berween sixry and sewnty, and oppressive ro himself and orhers with
figures who played che mosc decisive part in che formacion and diffusion of rhe rhe sriff, old French eriquerre which rhe sons of German princes had learned ar rhe
courr of the French king and rransplanted ro rheir own soil, admirredly in somewhar
new language of educaced Germans . This example shows quire clearly how che
reduced dimensions. The prince had learned rhrough age and habir ro move almosr
vague narional feeling of rhese circles, wirh ics spirirual, non-polirical leanings,
narurally under rhis hea'T armour of ceremony. Towards women he observed the
appears as bourgeois to rhe aristocracy at rhe peccy courts Ac rhe same cime,
elegant. exaggerared courresy of rhe bygone age of chivalry. so that his person was nor
both che clergyman and rhe professor point ro the social centre mosc important unpleasing ro rhem. bur he could nor leave rhe sphere of fine manners for an insrant
in fashioning and disseminating che German middle-class culture: che universicy. "irhour becoming insuffr:rable. His children S<lW in rheir father only rhe despor
From ic generacion afrer generacion of srudents carried inro che country. as The caricarures among rhe courrly people seemed ro me now ridiculous. now
ceachers. clergymen, and middle-rank adminiscrators, a complex of ideas and pitiable. The reverence thar rhey were able, on rhe appearance of rheir lord. ro summon
ideals scamped in a particular way. The German university was, in a sense, rhe insranrly from rheir hearrs ro rheir hands and feet. rhe gracious or angry glance rhar
middle-class coumerweighc ro rhe courr. passed rhrough rbeir bodies like an elecrric shock rhe immediate compliance of
Thus ir is in words wirh which che pasror mighr thunder against him from rheir opinions ro rhe mosr recent urrerance from the princely lips. all rhis I found
rhe pulpit rhar the court scoundrel expressed himself in rhe middle-class incomprehensible. I seemed ro be W<Hching a pupper rhearre.
imagination: 1lJ
Courtesy, compliance, fine manners, on che one hand, sound education and
You know rhar I have never granred love any orher power rhan o\er my senses. whose preference of virme ro honour, on the orher: German lireracure in the second half
mosr delicare and lively pleasures it affords All classes of beaury have pandered ro
of the eighreenth century is full of such amirheses. As !are as 23 October 1828,
me I grew sared wirh rhem The moralises may have their say on rhe
Eckermann said ro Goethe: "An education as thorough as rhe Grand-Duke
fine ners and snares in which I have captured rhe virrue and pride. rhe wisdom and the
appears ro have had is doubtless rare among princely personages." "Very rare",
frigidiry. rhe coquetry and enn rhe piery of rhe "hole feminine world Amour
indulged my varnry He broughr forrh from rhe mosr wrerched corner of rhe
Goethe replies. "There are many, to be sure, who are able to converse cleverly on
countryside a colonel's daughrer whose form, mind, and characrer are so charming any subject, bm they do nor possess their learning inwardly, and merely cickle
thar rhe surface. And it is no wonder, if one thinks of che appalling diversions and
truncations rhac courr life brings with ic."
Twenty-five years lacer, similar antitheses and related ideals and problems On occasion he uses the concept of K11!t11r quire expressly in rhis context.. "The
could still earn a book success . In 17 96, Ag11t.r rn11 Ldiw, 20 by Caroline von people around me", he says, "had no idea of scholarship. They were German
\'Volzogen, appeared in Schiller's Horen. In rhis novel rhe mother, of the high courtiers, and this class had nor rhe slighresc K11!t11r... > And Knigge once
aristocracy. who must for mysterious reasons have her daughcer educated outside observed explicitly: "\'Vhere more chan here [in Germany} did the courriers form
rhe court circle. says: a separace species
Thc Ci6/j::;i11g Prr1cts_1 25

16. In all these scaremenrs a quite definite social situation is reflected. It is the bourgeois self-image, specifically middle-class ideas, and an arsenal of trenchant
same situation that is discernible behind Kant's antithesis of K!ilt11r and concepts directed against the courtly upper class
Ziz'ilis11ti1;n Bur e\'en independently of these concepts, this phase and the Also in keeping with their situarion was what this intelligentsia saw as mosr
experiences deri\'ing from it became deeply imprinted in tht German tradition worrh fighting against in the upper class, as the opposite of Bi/dung and Kidtm'.
\\?hat was expressed in this conctpt of Ku!t11r, in the antithesis between depth The arrack was directed only infrequently, hesirantly and usually resignedly
and superficiality and in many related concepts, was primarily rht self-image of against the political or social privileges of the courtly arisrocracy. Instead, it was
a middle-class intellectual stratum. This was a relatively thin layer scattered over directed predominantly against their human conduct.
the whole territory, and therefore indi\'idualized to a high degree and in a A. \'try illuminating description of the difference between this German
particular form. It did nor consrirure, as did the court, a closed circle, a "socierv". intellectual class and its French counterpart is likewise ro be found in Goethe's
Ir was composed predominantly of officials, of civil servants in the broadest conversations with Eckermann: Ampere has come ro \\?eimar. (Goethe did not
of the word-that is, of people who directly or indirectly deri\'e their income know him personally but had often praised him ro Eckermann ) To everyone's
from the court, bur who, with few exceptions, did not themselves belong ro asronishment the celebrated Monsieur Ampere turns out ro be a "cheerful youth
courtly "good society", ro the arisrocrntic upper class. It was a class of of some twenty years Eckermann expressed surprise, and Goethe replied
intellectuals without a broad middle-class background The commercial- (Thursday. 3 May 1827 ):
proftssional middle class, who might have served as a public for the writers, was
Ir has nor been easy for you on your hearh, and wt in middle Germany have had co bu\'
relatively undeveloped in most German stares in the eighteenth century. The rise
de,1rly enough such little wisdom as we possess. For ar bonom we lead an isolated,
ro prosperity was only beginning in this period. The German writers and miserable life' Very little culrnre comes rn us from che people itself. and all our men
intellectuals were therefore floating in the air ro some extent. 1find and books of ralenc are srnrrered across the counuy. One is in Vienna, anocher in Berlin. another
were their refuge and their domain, achievements in scholarship and arr their in Konigsberg, another in Bonn or Dlisseldorf. all separated from each orhtr by fifty or
pride Scope for political activity, political goals, scarcely existed for this class. a hundred miles. so rhat personal conrncr or a personal exchange of ideas is a rarity. I
Commerce and the economic order were, for them, in keeping with the structure feel what rhis means when men like Alexander von Humboldc pctss through, and
of their life and society, marginal concerns. Trade, communications and indusrrv ad,ance my srudies furrher in a single day chan I would ocherwise have uawlled in a
year on my solirnry parh.
were comparatively undeveloped and still needed, for the most part,
BU[ now imagine a city like Paris. where the Oll[Standing minds of rhe whole realm
and promotion by mercantilisr policy rather than liberation from its constraints.
are gathered in a single place, and in their daily incercourse, comperirion, and rivalry
\\?hat legitimized this eighteenth-century middle-class intelligentsia ro itself, reach and spur each orher on, where rhe besr from every sphere of narnre and arr, from
what supplitd the foundation of its self-imagt and pride, was situated berond rhe whole surface of che earth, can be viewed at all rimes. Imagine this metropolis
economics and politics. It existed in what was called for precisely this das where every walk over a bridge or across a square summons up'' great pasc. And in all
l'i:iil Guistigc (the purely spiritual), in books, scholarship, religion, arr, philosophy, rhis do nor chink of rhe Paris of a dull, mindless epoch. bl![ the Paris ot the ninereenrh
in the inner enrichment, the intellectual formation !Bilcl1!11g) of rht individual, cenrury, where for chree generarions. through men like Moliere, Volrnire, and Dideroc,
primarily through the q1edium of books, in the personalir;-. Accordingly, rhe such a wealth of ideas has been pl![ inro circularion as is nor found anywhere else nn
rhe emire globe, and you will understand rhar a good mind like Ampere, having grown
warchvmrds expressing this self-image of the German intellectual class, terms
up in such plenitude, can ,ery well amounr rn someching in his nvency-fourch year
such as Bi!dm1g and K!!lt11r. tended ro draw a sharp distinction between
accomplishments in rhe areas just mentioned, between this purely spiritual Further on, Goethe says with reference to Merimee: "In Germany we cannot
sphere as the only one of genuine value, and the political, economic and social hope ro produce such mature work when still so young" This is nor the fault of
sphere, in complete contrast ro die watchwords of the rising bourgeoisie in the individual, but of the cultural state of the nation, and the great difficulty
France and England. The peculiar fate of the German bourgeoisie, its Jong that we all experience in making our way in isolation ..''
political impotence, and the late unification of the nation acted continuously in From such statements, which in chis introducrory context must suffice as
one direction, reinforcing concepts and ideals of this kind. Thus the development documentation, it is very clear how the political fragmentation of Germany was
of the concept of K1i!t111 and the ideals it embodied reflected the social situation of connected ro a quite specific structure, both of the German intellectual class and
the German intelligentsia, a class which lacked a significant social hinterland, and of its social behaviour and way of thinking In France the members of the
which, being the first bourgeois formation in Germany, develop an expressly intelligentsia were collecred in one place, held rogether within a more or less
26 The Cizi!izing Process Cha11gr:s in tht Br:hctl'iom of thr: Si:L!!lctr Uj1pr:r Classes in thr: \Fest 27

unified and central "good sociery"; in Germany, with its numerous, relatively orher rhings, rhe amirhesis berween Zirilisatio11 and K!!lt!!r grew up, we find ar
small capitals, there: was no central and unified "good society" Here the a parricular phase of German developmem rhe rension berween rhe middle-class
intelligentsia w<ts dispersed over rhe entire country, In France conversarion was inrelligentsia and rhe courrly arisrocracy.. Cerrainly, rhere was never a complere
one of the mosr imporrant means of communicarion and, in addirion, had been lack of awareness rhar courrliness and French were relared emiries G. C H,
for centuries an arr; in Germany rhe mosr imporrant means of communication Lichrenberg expressed this very clearly in one of his aphorisms, in which he
was rhe book, and it was a unified wrirren language, rarher than a unified spoken s oke of rhe difference between rhe French jJromessr: and rhe German Verspnchm1g
one. rhar this German imellecrual class deYeloped, In France even young people 3. l 775-l 779c'). "The larrer is kepr", he said, "and nor rhe former. The
lived in a milieu of rich and stimularing imellecrualiry; the young member of usefulness of French words in German. I am surprised that ir has nor been
rhe German middle class had ro work his way up in relarive solitude and noticed The French word gives rhe German idea wirh an admixture of humbug,
isolation, The mechanisms of social advancemem were differem in borh coun- or in irs courr meanmg. A discovery (Erfi11d1111g) is somerhing new and a
rries . And finally, rhis sraremem of Goerhe's also shows wry clearly whar a decomertr: somerhing old with a new name. Columbus discovered (wtclcckte)
middle-class imelligentsia wirhour a social himerland really meant. Earlier a America and ir was Americus Vespmius's dicrwnrte . Indeed, go1?t and rasre
passage was quored in which he arrribured litde culrure ro the courriers. Here he (Geschmack) are almosr antirherical, and people of go1?t seldom have much
said rhe same of rhe common people, K1!lt11r and Bild1111g are the warchwords and rasre,
characrerisrics of a rhin intermediare srrarum rhat had risen our of rhe people. Bur ir was only after rhe French Revolurion rhar rhe idea of the German
Nor only the small courdy class abo\e it, bur even the broader strara below still courtly arisrocrncy unmisrakably receded, and rhar rhe idea of France and the
showed relatiYely lirde undersranding for the endeavours of their own dire. \Vesrern powers in general moved towards rhe foreground in rhe concepr of
However, precisely this underdevelopment of the broader, professional middle "civilizarion" and relared ideas,
srrara was one of the reasons why the struggle of the middle-class vanguard, the One rypical example: in 1797 rhere appeared a small book by rhe French
bourgeois imtlligemsia, <tgainsr rhe courd y upper class \vas waged almost emigre Menurer, Essai S/tr la l'ille d'Ha111bo11rg. A cirizen of Hamburg, Canon
emirely ourside rhe polirical sphere, and why rhe arrack was direcred predom- Meyer. wrore rhe following commenrary on ir:
inantly againsr the conducr of rhe upper class, againsr general human characrer-
isrics like "superficialiry", "omward politeness", "insinceriry" and so on Even the Hamburg is srill backward Afrer a famous epoch (famous enough, when swarms of
emigranrs are serding here), ir has made progress (really)); bm ro increase, ro complete
few quorarions rhar have been used here show rhese connections exrremely clearly,
I do nor say irs happiness (rhar would be addressing his God) bur irs ciYilizarion. irs
Admirredly, ir is only rarely and wirhour great emphasis rhat the arrack focused
advance in rhe career of science and arr (in which, as you know, we are srill in rhe
on specific conceprs amirherical ro those which served as self-legitimizarion for
Norrh), in rhar of luxury, comforr, frivoliry (his special field!) ir srill needs a number
the German imellecrnal class, concepts such as Bild1mg and K!!ltm One of the
of years. or evenrs which draw ro ir new throngs of foreigners (pro\ided rhey arc nor
few specific coumer-concepts was "civilized-ness" in the Kamian sense. more swarms of his ci\"ilized comparriors) and an increase of opulence

VI Here, rherefore, rhe conceprs "civilized" and "civilization" are already linked
quite unequivocally wirh rhe image of rhe Frenchman,
The Recession of the Social Element and the \Virh rhe slow rise of the German bourgeoisie from being a second-rank class
ro being rhe bearer of German narional consciousness, and finally-very !are and
Advance of the National Element in the Antithesis condirionally-ro being rhe ruling class, from having been a class which was first
between Kultur and Zivilisation obliged ro perceive or legirimize irself primarily by contrasting itself ro the
courdy-arisrocratic upper class, and then by defining itself againsr compering
17 \Vhether the amithesis is expressed by these or other concepts, one thing narions, rhe antirhesis between K11lt11r and Zil'ilisatio11, wirh all irs accompanying
is always clear: the comraposition of particular human charaneristics which later meanings, changed in significance and foncrion: from being c1 j11"imarily socicd
came ro serve primarily ro express a national amithesis appears here primarily as a11tithesis it becomes a primarily national 011e,
the expression of a social amithesis, As rhe decisive experience underlying the And a parallel development was undergone by whar was rhoughr of as
formulation of pairs of opposites such as "depth" and "superficiality", "honesty" specifically German: l1ere, likewise, many originally middle-class social charnc-
and "falsiry". "ourward polireness" and "rrue virtue", and from which, among terisrics, imprinted in people by rheir social siruarion, became national characrer-
28 Tix Cil'ilizi11g Pmccss 29

isrics. Honesry and sinceriry, for example, were now conrrasred as German aspect of his moderation of individual affects. His comment was one of rhe few
characrerisrics wirh dissimularing counesy. Bm sincerity, as used here, originally German urrerances of rhis rime ro acknowledge something of the social value of
emerged as a specific trait of the middle-class person, in contrasr ro the man of "courresy" and rn say something positive about social adroirness. In France and
rhe world or courrieL This, roo, can be clearly seen in a conversarion berween England, where "society" played a far greater role in the overall development of the
Eckermann and Goerhe. nation, rhe behavioural tendencies he speaks of also played-rhough less con-
"I usually carry into sociery", says Eckermann on 2 May 1824, "my personal sciously than in his case-a far more important part. And ideas of a similar kind,
likes and dislikes and a certain need to love and be loved . I seek a personaliry including rhe notion that people should seek ro harmonize wirh and show con-
conforming to my nature; ro that person I should like ro gi,e myself entirely and sideration for each other, rhar individuals may not always give W<lY to their
have nothing to do with rhe ochers." emorions, recur quite frequently, with rhe same specifically social meaning as in
"This natural tendency of yours, Goerhe answers, "is indeed nor of a sociable Goethe, in rhe court literature of France, for example As a reAecrion, these
kind; yer what would all our education be if we were nor willing to overcome our thoughts were rhe individual property of Goethe. But related social situations.
natural rendencies. It is a great folly ro demand rhar people should harmonize life in the 111omle, led everywhere in Europe to related precepts and modes of
wirh us, I have never done so I have thereby attained rhe ability to converse with behaviour.
all people, and only rhus is knowledge of human character gained, as well as rhe Similarly, the behaviour which Eckermann described as his own is-as
necessary adroirness in life. For with opposed natures one must rake a grip on compared ro the outward serenity and amiability concealing opposed feelings
oneself if one is to get on wirh rhem. You oughr ro do likewise . There's no help rbar was first developed in this phase in rhe courtly-arisrocraric world--clearly
for ir. you musr go inro sociery. No matter whar you say" recognizable as originating from rhe small-rown. middle-class sphere of the rime.
The sociogenesis and psychogenesis of forms of human behaviour are srill not And ir was cerrainly nor only in Germany rhar it was found in this sphere. Bur
well undersrood. Ewn ro raise rhe questions may seem odd. It is nevertheless in Germany. owing to the particularly pure representation of the middle-class
observable rhar people from different social units behave differendy in quire outlook by the intelligentsia. these and related attitudes became visible in
specific ways. \'<le are accustomed ro rake rhis for granted. \'Ve speak of the lirerawre to an exceptional degree. And they recurred in rhis relatively pure form
peasant or the courtier, of the Englishman or the German, of rhe medieval man produced by the sharper, more rigorous division between courtly and middle-
or rhe man of the twentieth century, and we mean that rhe people of rhe social
class circles, above all in the national behaviour of the Germans.
units indicated by such concepts behave uniformly in a specific manner which
The social units rhar we call nations differ widely in rhe affect-economies of
transcends all individual differences when measured against rbe individuals of a
their members, in the schemata through which the emotional life of individuals
contrasring group: for example, rbe peasant behaves in many respects differently
is moulded under the pressure of institutionalized rradirion and of rhe present
from the courtier, rbe Englishman or Frenchman from rbe German. and rhe
siruarion. \Vhar was typical in the behaviour described by Eckermann was a
medieval man from rbt man of rhe rwentierh century, no matter how much else
specific form of "affect-modelling", rhar open submission of individual inclina-
rhey may have in common as human beings.
rion which Goerhe considers unsociable and contrary ro the affect formation
Different modes of behaviour in rbis sense are apparent in rbe conversarion
necessary for "Society"
jusr quored between EC'kermann and Goerhe. Goethe was certainly a man who
For Nietzsche, many decades later. rhis arritude had long been rhe typical
was individualized to a particularly high degree. As a result of his social desriny,
national attitude of the Germans . Certainly. it had undergone modifications in
modes of beh,niom with different social origins merged in him into a specific
the course of hisrnry, and no longer had the same social meaning as at
unity He, his opinions, and his behaviour were cerrainly never entirely typical of
Eckermann's time. Nietzsche ridiculed ir: "The German", he says in Buyo11d Good
any of the social groups and situations rhrough which be had passed. Bur in this
mid Eril (Aphorism 2-i-i), "loves 'sincerity' and uprighrness' How comfortiDg it
quotation he spoke quire explicitly as a man of the world, as a courtier, from
experiences which were necessarily foreign ro Eckermann. He perceived the com- is to be sincere and upright. Ir is roday perhaps the most dangerous and
pulsion ro hold back one's own feelings, to suppress antipathies and sympathies, deceptive of all rhe disguises iD which rhe German is expert, this confidential,
which was inherent in court life, and which was ofren interpreted by people of a obliging, German honesty rhar always shows its cards. The German lets himself
different social situation, and rherefore with a different affect structure, as dis- go, looking the while with trustful blue empty German eyes-and foreigners
honesty or insincerity And with the consciousness that distinguished him as a immediately mistake him for his nighrshirt ... Leaving aside the one-sided value
relative oursider from all social groups. he emphasized rhe beneficial, human judgement, this is one of rhe many illusrrarions of how, wirh the slow rise of the
30 Th1: Cil'i/j:;i11g Proa.rs

middle classes, rheir sptcific social characttristics gradually becomt national

And the same becomes clear from the following judgement of Fontane on
England, robe found in Ei11 So111i111:r in L<111do11 (Dessau, 1852):

England and Germany are related in rhe same way as form and conrenr. appearance and
reality Unlike rhings. which in no ocher counrry in rhe world exhibit rhe same solidity
as in England, people are distinguished by form, their mosr ourward packing. You
need nor be a genrleman. you muse only ban rhe means ro appear one, and you are one
You need nor be righr. you muse only find yourself wirhin rhe forms of rightness, and
Sociogenesis of
you are right Everywhere appearance Nowhere is one more inclined ro abandon
oneself blindly ro rhe mere lustre of a name. The German lives in order ro live, rhe
the Concept of Civilisation
Englishman ro represent The German lives for his own sake. rhe Englishman for rhe
sake of ochers zn France
It is perhaps necessary to point om how exactly this lasr idea coincides with
rhe antithesis benveen Eckermann and Goethe: "I give open expression to my
personal likes and dislikes", said Eckermann . "One must seek, even if unwill-
ingly, to harmonize with others", argued Goethe.
"The Englishman .. , Fontane observes, "has a thousand comforts, bur no
comfort. The place of comfort is taken by ambition. He is always ready to
receive, to give audiences. He changes his suir rhree rimes a day; he observes I
ar rable-in rhe sining room and drawing room--certain prescribed laws of
propriery. He is a disringuished man, a phenomenon rhar impresses us, a reacher Introduction
from whom we rake lessons. Bur in the midst of our wonderment is mixed an
infinire nosrnlgia for our petty-bourgeois Germany, where people have not the 1 Ir would be incomprehensible that, in the German antithesis of genuine
faintest idea how to represent, but are able so splendidly, so comforrnbly and
Bild11ng and K1dt111 on the one hand and mere outward Zizilisatio11 on the ocher,
cozily, to live." rhe internal. social antithesis should haw receded and the national one become
The concepr of "civilizarion" was not mentioned here. And rhe idea of German dominant, had nor the de\elopment of the French bourgeoisie followed, in
Kuft11r appears in this account only from afar. Bur we see from it, as from all certain respects, exactly rhe opposite course from the German
rhese reflecrions, rhat rhe German anrirhesis berween Ziz'ilisatio11 and K11!t11r did In France rhe bourgeois intelligentsia and the leading groups of the middle
nor srnnd alone; ir was part of a larger context. Ir was an expression of rhe class were drawn relatively early into the circle of rhe court society The German
German self-image. And ir pointed back ro differences of st!f-legirimization, of nobiliry's old means of distinction, the proof of ancesuy-which lacer, in a
characrer and overall behaviour, rhat first exisred preponderantly, even if nor bourgeois transformation, rook on new life in German racial legislation-was
exclusively. between parricular German classes, and then berween the German certainly not entirely absent in the French tradition, bur particularly after the
nation and other nations. esrablishment and consolidation of the "absolute monarchy", it no longer played
a very decisive role as a barrier between the classes. The permeation of bourgeois
circles by specifically arisrocratic traditions (which in Germany, wirh the srricter
separation of classes, had a deep effecr only in certain spheres such as the military,
being elsewhere very limired) had quire different proportions in France. Here, as
early as the eighteenth century, there was no longer any considerable difference
of manners between the leading bourgeois groups and the courtly arisrocracy
And e\en if, with rhe srronger upsurge of the middle class from the mid-
- 7
-"- The Cil'ili:ing Pmccss Ch,!llges i11 the Behariom of tht Scmlar Upper C!t1sses in the \Vest 33

eighreemh cemury onward-or, srnred differently, wirh rhe enlargement of rhe rhe classes for a long rime found no political expression; \vhereas in France, where
courr sociery through rhe increased assimilarion of leading middle-class rhe class barriers were lower and social contact between the classes incomparably
groups-beha,iour and manners slowly changed, this happened rupture more intimate, rhe political acriviry of rhe bourgeoisie developed earlier and rhe
as a direcr cominuation of rhe courtly-arisrocraric rradirion of rhe sevemeenth ,ension between the classes reached an early political resolution.
cemury Borh the courtly bourgeoisie and rhe courtly aristocracy spoke rhe same Bm the paradox is only apparent. The long denial of political functions ro the
language, read the same books and had, with particular gradarions, rhe same French nobility by royal policy, rhe early involvement of bourgeois elements in
manners. And when rhe social and economic disproportionaliries bursr rhe government and administration, their access ro even rhe highest governmental
insrirurional framework of rhe a11ciw when the bourgeoisie became rhe functions, their influence and advancement ar the court-all chis had rwo
narion, much of what had originally been rhe specific and clisrincrive social consequences: on rhe one hand, enduring close social conrnct between elements
character of rhe courtly aristocracy and then also of rhe courtly-bourgeois groups, of differing social origin; on rhe other, rhe opportuni ry for bourgeois elements ro
became, in an ever-widenini:: movemem and doubtless with some modification, engage in political acriviry when rhe social sirnarion was ripe and, prior ro chis,
the national character. Stylistic comentions, rhe forms of social intercourse, a strongly political training, a tendency to chink in political caregories. In rhe
affect-moulding, the high regard for courtesy, the importance of good speech and German scares, by and large, almost exactly rhe reverse was the case . The highest
conversation, articulateness of language and much else-all this was first formed government poses were generally reserved for rhe nobility. Ar the least, unlike
in France within court society, then slowly changed, in a continuous diffi.1sion, rheir French counterparts, rhe German nobility played a decisive role in higher
from a social into a nItional character. state administration Its strength as an auronomous class had never been so
Here, too, Nietzsche saw the difference nory clearly. "\\/herever there was a radically broken as had char of irs counterpart in France. In contrast, rhe class
court"", he says in Be) r!llt! Gr1r1J t1nd Ez-i! (Aphorism l () l ), "there was a law of rig hr strength of rhe bourgeoisie, in keeping with its economic power, was relatively
speaking, and therefore also a law of style for all who wrote. Courtly language, low in Germany until well into rhe nineteenth century. The sharper social
however, is the language of rhe courrier who has no special subject, and who even severance of German middle-class elements from rhe courtly aristocracy reflected
in comersarion on scholarly matters prohibits all technical expressions because rheir relative economic weakness and their exclusion from most key positions in
they smack of specialization; this is why, in countries with a courtlv culture. rhe rhe scare.
technical term and everything char betrays rhe specialist is a snlisric blemish . _:; The social structure of France made ir possible for rhe moderate opposition,
Now that all courts have become caricamres one is to find even which had been slowly growing from about rhe mid-eighteenth century, ro
:olraire very particular on this point . The fact is that we are all emancipated be represented with a certain success in the innermost court circles Irs
from court taste, while Voltaire was irs consummation'" representatives did not yer form a party. Ocher forms of political struggle fitted
In Germany rhe aspiring middle-class intelligentsia of rhe eighteenth centurv, rhe instimrional structure of the crnciw They formed a clique ar rhe court
trained at universities specializing in particular subjects, developtd its selt-:_ without a definite organization, bur were supported by people and groups within
expression, its own specific culture, in rhe arts and sciences. In France the the broader court society and in rhe country at large. The variety of social
bourgeoisie was already developed and prosperous to an entirelv different degree interests found expression at court in the conflicts between such cliques,
The rising intelligentsia had, besides rhe arisrocracy, a broad. bourgeois admittedly in a somewhat vague form and with a srrong admixrure of the most
too. The inrelligenrsia itself, like certain other middle-class formations. was diwrse personal interests; nevertheless, these conflicts were expressed and
assimilated by rhe courtly circle. And so ir came abour that rhe German middle resolved.
classes, with their very gradual rise to nationhood, increasingly perceived as rhe The French concept of ciri!isatio11, exactly like the corresponding German
national character of their neighbour chose modes of behaviour which they had concept of KN!t!lr, was formed within chis opposition movement in rhe second
first observed predominantly at their own courts. And, having either judged chis half of the eighteenth century. Its process of formation, its function and its
behaviour second-rare or rejected ir as incompatible with rheir own affect meaning were as different from those of the German concept as were the
srrucrure, so they also disapproved of ir to a greater or lesser degree in their circumstances and manners of the middle classes in rhe two countries"
neighbours Ir is nor uninteresting to observe how similar was the French concept of
2 . Ir may seem paradoxical char in Germany, where rhe social walls between ciri!isation, as first encountered in lirerarure, to the concept to which many years
the middle class and rhe arisrocracy were h.igher, social contacts fewer and lacer Kant opposed his concept of Ku!t!lr. The first literary evidence of the
differences in manners more considerable, rhe discrepancies and tensions between development of rhe verb cfrilisu into the concept cfri!isation is to be found,
The Process _',5

according ro prtsem-day in dit work of die elder Mirabeau in rht inrernal, social debate. Rousseau launched rhe mosr radical arrack on rht
1-:6os. domim1nr order of rnluts of his rime. and for rhis vtry reason his direct
.. I maf\'el ro see ... ht says ... how uur learned vit\\s. false on all poims, are imporrance for rhe rnurrlyimiddle-class reform mon:mem of rhe Frtnch imelli-
\Hong on whar we rakt rn be civilizarion. If rhey were asked whar civilizarion is. genrsia was less rhan mighr be suggesred by his resonance among rhe unpolirical
mosr people would answer: sofrening of manners. urbaniry. polireness, and a inrellecrually more radical middle-class imtlligemsia of Gtrmany. Bur
disseminarion of knowledge such char propriery is esrnblished in place of laws of Rousseau. for all rhe radicalism of his social criricism, had nor yer fashiontcl
derail: all rhar only presems me wirh rhe mask of virrnt and nor irs face, and an inclusive. unified counrerconcepr against which ro hurl rhe accumulated
ci\ilizarion dots norhing for sociery if ir does nor give ir both rhe form and rhe reproaches. Mirabeau created ir, or was ar lease rhe firsr ro use ir in his wrirings:
subs ran ct of virwe ... 21' This sounds vtry similar rn whar was also being said in perhaps ir had prtviously exisrtd in conversarion. From rht ho111111t cizi!ise he
Germany againsr courrly manners. Mirabeau. roo. comrasred whar mosr people, derived a general characreristic of sociery: cirilisatio11. Bur his social criticism.
according ro him. considered ro bt civilizarion (i e. polirtness and good like char of rhe othtr Physiocrars. was moclerare. Ir remained emirely wirhin the
manntrs) wirh rhe idtal in whose name everpvhtre in Europe rhe middle classes framework of rhe existing social system. It is. incited, the criricism of reformers
were aligning rhemselves againsr rhe courrly-arisrocraric upper class, and \Xlhile members of the German middle-class inrelligentsia, at lease in rhe mind, in
rhrough which rhty ltgirimized rhemselves-die ideal of virrue. He. roo, exacrly rhe daydreams of their books. forged concepts divtrging absolurely from rhe
likt Kam. linked rhe concepr of civilizarion ro rhe specific characrerisrics of rhe models of rhe upper class. and rims fought on politically neurral ground all rhe
courrly arisrocracy. wirh reason: for rhe ho111111t cirilisil was norhing orhtr rhan a bardes which they were unable ro fighr on rhe polirical and social plane btcause
somewhar exrended version of char human rype which represemed rhe rrut ideal rhe existing instirurions and power relarionships denied chem insrrumenrs and
of courr socitry. die ho1mt!tt h1J111111c even targets: while they. in rheir books. opposed to the human characrerisrics of
Cirili.r( was. like mltiz-t'. poli, or /10/id. one of rhe many rerms, ofren used almosr rhe upper class rheir own new ideals and behavioural models: the courtly-
as synonyms. by which rhe courrly people wished ro designart. in a broad or reformisr intelligentsia in France remained for a long rime within the framework
narrow sense. rhe specific qualiry of rheir own behaviour. and by which rhey of courrly tradirion. These Frenchmen desirtcl to improvt. modify, aclapr. Aparr
comrasrecl rhe refinemtm of rheir O\\n social manners. rheir "srnndard ... ro rht from a few oursiders like Rousseau. rhey did nor oppose radically different ideals
manners of simpler and socially inferior ptople. and models ro rhe dominam order, bm reformed ideals and models of thar order
Conceprs such as or cizilitc' had. befort die concepr cizilisati//11 was In rht words "false civilization .. rhe whole difference from rhe German move-
formtd and esrablishtd. practically rht same function as rhe new concepr: ro mem was contained. The French wrirers implied thar rhe false civilization oughr
express the self-image of rhe European upper class in relarion ro ochers whom irs ro bt replaced by a genuine one. They did nor oppose ro rht ho111111e cirilise a
members considered simpler or more prirnirin:, and ar tht same rimt ro radically differem human model. as did dit German bourgeois inrelligenrsia
characterize the specific kind of behaviour rhrough which this upper class felr with the term gebi!ddu Mwsch (eclucarecl person) and with the idea of tht
irself differtm from all simpler and more primirive people. Mirabeau's sratemem personaliry .. : insreacl, they picked up courtly models in order to develop and
makes ir quire clear ro txtem rhe conctpt of civilizarion was ar firsr a direcr rransform them. They addressed rhemselves ro a critical imelligenrsia which,
conrinuarion of ocher incarnarions of courdy self-consciousness: "If rhey were directly or indirectly. was irself wriring and srruggling wirhin rht extensive
asked what civilizarion is. people would answer: sofrening of manners, polite- nerwork of courr sociery
ness. and suchlike ... And Mirabeau, like Rousseau, if more moderarely, inverted
the existing rnluarions. You and your civilizarion, he said, all rhat you are so
proud of, btlieving char it raises you above rhe simple people, is of very lirrle II
value: "In all rhe languages of all ages, rhe depicrion of rhe love of shepherds
for rheir flocks and rheir clogs finds irs way imo our soul, deadened as ir is by rhe Sociogenesis of Physiocratism and the French
pursuit of luxury and a false civilizarion ... 2 - Reform Movement
A person s arrirude cowards rhe "simple people .. -above all, rowarcls rhe
"simple people .. in rheir mosr exrreme form. rhe "savage ..-was everywhere in -t Ler us recall rhe siruarion of France afrer the middle of rhe eighteemh
rhe second half of rhe eighreemh cemury a symbol of his or her posirion in rhe ctnrnry
36 The Cfrili::i11g Process i11 th, Bdh11io11r o/ tht Swtfcn Uj1pu Classes i11 the \Vt.rt

The principles by which France was governed and on which, in particular, )risoners of social processes and dependent on court cliques and factions, some of
raxarion and customs legislation was based were broadly the same as at Colberr's extended far into the country <llld deep inro middle-class circles
rime. But the internal relationships of power and interest. the so.cial srrucrure of Plwsiocrarism was one of rhe theoretical expressions of these interfacrional
France itself, had shifted in crucial ways. Strict protectionism, the shielding of le was by no means confined ro economics, being a large-scale system
national manufacturing and commercial activity against foreign competition, of political and social reform. Ir contained, in a pointed, abstract and dogmat-
had actually contributed decisively to the development of French economic life, icallv hardened form, ideas which-expressed less theoretically, dogmatically and
and so ro furthering what marcered more than anything else to the king and his i . e., as pracrical demands for reform-characterized the whole move-
representatives-the taxable capacity of the country. The barriers in the grain ment of which Turgor, who was for a rime in charge of finance, was an exponent
trade, monopolies, the granary system and the cuswms walls between provinces If rhis tendency (which had neither a name nor a unified organization) is ro be
had partly protected local interests but, above all, had from rime ro rime "iven a name, ir might be called rhe reformist bureaucracy. But these reformist
preserved the district most imporrant to the king's peace and perhaps to that of :dministrarors doubtless also had sections of the intelligentsia and of the
all France, Paris, from rhe extreme consequences of bad harvests and rising commercial bourgeoisie behind rhem
prices-srarvarion and revolt Among those desiring and demanding reform, moreover, there were consider-
But in rhe meantime, rhe capiral and the population of the country had able differences of opinion concerning the kind of reform that was needed. Some
increased. Compared ro Colbert's rime, the trade network had become denser and were wholly in favour of a reform of rhe raxarion system and rhe srare machinery,
more extensive, industrial activity more vigorous, communications better, and rec were, for example, far more prorecrionisr than rhe Physiocrars. Forbonnais
rhe economic integration and interdependence of French rerrirory closer. Sections one of rhe leading representatives of this tendency. and it is ro misunder-
of rhe bourgeoisie began to find the traditional taxation and customs systems, srand him and like-minded people ro include them, on account of their more
under whose protection rhey had grown up, irksome and absurd . Progressive strongly protectionist attitude, indiscriminarely among the "'mercantilisrs" The
country gentry and landowners like Mirabeau saw in the mercantilist restraints debate between Forbonnais and rhe Physiocrars was an early expression of a
on the grain economy an impediment rather than an inducement ro agricultural divergence within modern industrial society which was ro lead ro ever-recurring
production: in this rhey profited nor a little from rhe lessons of rhe freer English conflicts between the exponents of free trade and proreccionism. Both sides were
trading sys rem . And most important of all, a section of the higher administrators parr of rhe middle-class reform movement.
- On rhe other hand, it was by no means the case rhar rhe uiw!e bourgeoisie
rhemselws recognized the ill effects of rhe existing system; at their head \Vas
desired reform while rhe arisrocracy exclusively opposed ir. There were a number
their most progressive type, the provincial intendants, rhe representatives of the
of cle<1rly definable middle-class groups which resisted to rhe utmost any serious
single modern form of bureaucracy which rhe a11cie11 had produced, the
,1rrempr at reform, and whose existence was indeed bound up with the
only administrati\e funccion which was not, like rhe others, purchasable and
conservation of the c111ci1:11 in irs unrc:formtd St<ltt These groups included
therefore heredirary These progressive elements in the administration formed
rhe majority of the higher administrators, the 110Mwc de robe, whose offices were
one of the most important bridges between the demand for reform that was
family possessions in rhe same sense that a facrory or business roday is herediran-
making itself felt in d1e country and rhe comr. Directly or indirectly they
properry They also included the craft guilds and a good proporrion of rhe
played, in rhe struggle of court cliques for key political positions (primarily the
financiers And if reform failed in Frnnce, if the disproportions of society finally
ministries), a nor inconsiderable part
burst the institutional structure of the c111cit11 violently asunder, rhe
Thar these struggles were nor yet rhe more impersonal, polirical conflicts they
opposition of these middle-class groups ro reform bore a large measure of
lacer became, when the various interests would be represented by parries within
a parliamentary framework, has already been pointed our. Bm rhe courtly groups
This whole survey shows very clearly one thing which is important in rhis
which, for rhe most diverse reasons, competed for influence and posts at the court context: whereas the middle classes already played a political role in France at
were, at the same rime, social nuclei through which the interests of broader this rime, in Germany they did nor. In Germany rhe intellectual stratum was
groups and classes could find expression at the controlling centre of the country confined to rhe sphere of the mind and ideas: in France, along with all the other
In this way reformist tendencies, roo, were represented at court. human questions, social, economic, administrative and political issues came
By the second half of the eighteenth century, the kings had long ceased ro rule within rhe range of interests of rhe courtly/middle-class intelligentsia The
arbitrarily. Far more perceptibly than Louis XIV, for example, they were rhe German systems of rhoughr, by contrast, were to <l far greater extent purely
acaJemic Their social bast was cht universicy, The social base from which social evems, like narnral phenomena, form part of an ordered process . This samt
Physiocracism emerged was che courr and court sociecy, where imellecrnal effon experience manifosctd icstlf in che uansformacion of che earlitr <'fri/i.re imo che
had specific concrece aims. such as influencing che king or his misuess. noun <'izi!ist1tiu11, helping ro giw ic a meaning chac cranscended inJi\idual
5 The basic ideas of Quesnay and che Physiocracs are well known In his usage,
L1h!C:111 ( l '58), Quesnay depicted cht economic lift of society as a The binh pangs of the indusuial revolmion, which could no longer be
more or less autonomous process, a closed cycle of the produccion, circulation underswod as che resulc of governmem direnion, rnughc people, briefly and for
and reproduction of commodities . He spoke of the natural laws of a social lift in che firsc cime, w think of chemselvts and cheir social exiscence as a process. If wt
harmony wich reason. Basing his argumtm on chis idea, Quesnay opposed firsc pursue the use of che cerm 'iz'ilisatio11 in che work of .Mirabeau, we set clearly
arbirrary imenemion by rulers imo die economic cycle. He wished them ro be how chis discovery caused him w view che enrire moral icy of his cime in a new
aware of its laws in order ro guide its processes, instead of issuing uninformed lid1t He came rn regard chis moralicy, this "ci\ilization" wo as a cyclical
decrees at whim. He demanded freedom of trade, particularly the grain trade, :mifesrncion, and wanted rulers to perceive ics laws in order w use chem . Thac
because self-regulation, che free pla\ of forces, creates in his view a more was che meaning of che cerm cil'i!isc1tio11 ac this early srnge of ics use.
beneficial order for consumers and proJucers chan the rradicional regulations In his Ami des ho1111110, .Mirabeau argues in one place chac ,1 superfluicy of
from above and the coundess trade barriers benveen proYince and province, money reduces populmion, so thac consumpcion by each individual is increased.
country and country.. He considers rhac this excess of money, should ic grow wo large, "banishes
But he tully concecleJ that the self-regulating processes oughc ro be unJer- industry and the arcs, so casting srnces inrn povtrry and depopulation.. And he
srood, and guided, by a wise and tnlighcened bureaucracv. Here, above all, lav continues: "From chis we perceive how che cycle from barbarism ro decadence
che difference becween rhe wa\. in \\hich che French and che Enlisi1
b chrough civilizacion and wealch might be reversed by an alert and skilful
reformers reacced w the discovery of seif-regulacion in economic life. Quesnay miniscer, and che machine wound up again before ic has run down." 2 " This
and his follows remained wholly wichin che framework of cht exiscing monarchi- semence really sums up all chat was w become characceriscic, in very general
cal syscem. He lefr dit basic elemtnts of die cmciw and ics inscimcional ccrms. of che fundamenrnl srnndpoint of rhe Physiocracs: che concepcion of
scrunure umouchtd. And chis applied all d1t more w che seccions of che economy, populacion, and finally manners as an imerrelactd whole, developing
adminisuacion and imtlligtmsia \\host posicion was close rn his, and who, in a cyclically; and the reformisc policical cendency which intended chis knowledge:
ltss absuace, ltss exueme and more prnnically minded form, arrived ac resulcs finally for che rulers, w enable chem, from an undersrnnding of chese laws. w
similar w chose of die cemral group of Physiocracs. Fundamentally, die posicion guide social processes in a more enlighcened and racional way than hi cherw
common w all of them was excremtly simple: roughly, chey htld thac ic is not In Mirabeau's dedicacion of his The(Jrie de /'ill!jJ&t w rhe king in l 760, in which
uut char rulers are almighcy and can regulace all human affairs as chev chink tic he recommended to che monarch che Physiocracic plan for rnx reform, exactly che
Socien and the: economy havt cheir 0\\'!1 laws, ,,hich resisr die. irracion<d same idea was scill present: "The examplt of all che empires rhac hano preceded
interference of rulers anJ force. Therefore an enlighteneJ, racional adminiscracion yours, and which have run che circle of civilizacion, would be derniled e\idence
must be creartd which gon:rns in accordance wich die "narnral laws" of social of whac I have jusc advanced."
processes, and chus inaccordance wich reason. The cricical anirnde of Mirabeau, che landed nobleman, rnwards \Walch,
6 . The cerm <'i1ili.1mi"11 was, ac che momem of ics formacion, a clear refltnion luxury, and che whole of prerniling manners gave his ideas a special cinge.
uf chtse reformisc iJtas. If in chis rtrm che idea of che h11111111c cif.i/is( led w a Gtnuine civilizacion, he chouglu, srnnds in a cycle becween barbarism and a falst,
concepc designacing che manners and condicions of exiscing sociecy as a whole, ic "decadem" civilizacion engendered by a superabundance of money. The rnsk of
was firsc and foremosc an expression of insights derived from opposicion, from enlighcened governmem is w sceer chis automacism so thm sociecy can flourish
social cricicism. To this was added the realizacion chac governmems cannot issue on a middle course becween barbarism and decadence. Here, the whole range of
decrees ac will, bl!( are al!(omacically resisted by anonymous social forces if cheir problems la cent in "civilization .. is already discernible m che moment of die
ordinances are nm guided by an exact knowledge of d1est forces ,me! laws: che concept's formacion. Even ac chis srnge it was connected rn the idea of decadence
realizacion chac t\en che most absolute governmem is helpless in che face of the or "decline", which has re-emerged again and again, in an open or veiled form.
dynamisms of social clevtlopment, and thac disascer and chaos, miserr and ro che rhychm of cyclical crises . Bm we can also see quiet clearly thac this desire
disuess, are unleashed by arbi uary, "unnatural", ' irracional" As for reform remained wholly wichin rhe framework of che exiscing social syscem
already scared, this realizacion found expression in che Physiocracic idea char \vhich was manipulated from above, and chac ic did nm oppose w whac ic
40 Tht Ci1'i!i::,i11g Process -il

criticized in presenr manners an absolurely new image or concept, but instead example. "There is nothing that phices mo:e obsracles .in .the. way_ of public
rook irs departure from rhe existing order, desiring to improve it: through skilful s of rhe nrogress of human reason, ot rhe enure Civilizanon ot men than
happines . r- L . ,. _; i
and enlightened measures by rhe governmenr, "false civilization" shall ,1gain rhe continual wars into which thoughtless pnnces are drawn at every momem .
become a good and true ci,ilization Or, in another place: 'Human reason is nor yet sufficiently exercised: the
In this conception of civilization there may ar first have been many cizi/iz:itio 11 of peop!ts i.1 1111! yet co111p!tt1:; obsracles without number have hirherro
individual shades of meaning. Bur it contained elements which corresponded to "ress of useful knowledue. the advance of which can alone
oppose cl [11e Pro o c - . . .
rhe general needs ,rnd experience of the reformist and progressive circles of conrn u b re ro perfecrinn b
our ouovernmem ' our laws,, our educanon, our msnru-
Parisian society And the concept became all the more widely used in these circles 2
rions. and our morals ... _;
the more the reform movement was accelerated by growing commercialization and The concept underlying this enlightened, socially critical reform movemenr
ind usrrializarion. was always che same: rhar the improvement of insrimrions, education and law
The last period of Louis xvs reign was a rime of visible debility and disorder will be brought about by the advance of knowledge. This did nor mean
in rhe old sys rem. The internal and external tensions grew. The signs of social \VisMJschafr in rhe eighreenrh-century German sense, for the speakers were nor
transformation multiplied. university: people bur independenr writers, officials, intellectuals, courtly
In 177 3 tea chests were thrown into Boston harbour In 1776 came the of the most diverse kind uni red through rhe medium of "good society , . the
Declaration of Independence by Englands American colony: the governmenr, ir sa!om Progress would be achieved, therefore. first by rhe enlightenment of kmgs
proclaimecl, is appointed to ensure rht happiness of the people. Should it nor and rulers in conformity with .. reason .. or "nature .. , which comes ro the same
succeed in this purpose, a majority of rhe people has the right to dismiss iL thing, and rhen by placing in leading positions enlightened (i e _. reform-minded)
The French middle-class circles symparheric to reform observed what was men A certain aspect of this whole progressive process of reform, came to be
happening across rhe sea with rhe urmosr attention, ancl with a sympathy in desiunared bv a fixed concept: cil'ihwtio11. \'Vhar was visible in j\firabeau's
which their reformist social tendencies mingled with growing national hostility of the concept, which had nor yet been polished by society.
row,1rds England, even though their leading minds were thinking of anything and what is characteristic of any reform movemenr was ro be found here also: a
but an overthrow of the monarchy. half-<iflirmarion and half-negation of rhe existing order. Society, from this poinr
Ar the same rime, from l 77-i onwards, there was a growing feeling rhar a of view, had reached a particular stage on rhe road to civilization. But it was
confrontation with England was inevirable and rhar preparations must be made insufficient Societv could nor stand still there The process was continuing and
for war In rhe same year, 1 Louis XV died. Under the new king rhe struggle OLwhr ro be pushe.d further: "rhe civilization of peoples is nor yet complete".
for the reform of the administrative and raxarion systems was immediately ideas were fused in rhe concept of civilization. On the one hand. it
renewed with intensified force in both rhe narrower and the wider court circles. constituted a general counrerconcept to another stage of socierv. barbarism This
As a result of these conflicts. Turgor was welcomed in the s<1me year as cu11trrJ/c11r feel;ng had pervaded court society. Ir had found its courtly-aristocratic
dtS ji11t111ccs by all rhe reformist and progressive elements in the country.. expression in terms such as politesse or ciriliti. _
"Ar last rhe belated hour of justice has come", wrote rhe Physiocrar Baucleau Bur rhe masses were nor yet civilized enough, said rhe men of the courtly/
on Turgors 1ppointmenL oAlembert wrote on rhe same occasion: "If good does middle-class reform movemenr. Civilization is nor only a stare, it is a process
nor prevail now. ir is because good is impossible: And Voltaire regretted being which must be raken further. Thar was the new element expressed in the term
at the gates of death at the moment when he could observe "virtue and reason in ciri!iwtion. It absorbed much of what had always made court society believe itself
their place" c" ro be, as compared with those living in a simpler, more uncivilized or more
In the same years, ciri!isc//io11 appeared for the first rime as a widely used and barbaric way, a higher kind of society: the idea of a level of morals and manners,
more or less fixed concepL In the first edition of Raynal's Histoin jihi!osophiqm et including social racr, consideration for others and many related complexes. Bur
pr1/itiq!!e des [tah!iss1:111wts tt d!! rnm111ene des E11ropeem dam !es dwx Indes (1770) the in rhe h:nds of rhe rising middle class, in the mouth of rhe reform movement,
word does nor occur once: in rhe second ( 1774) it was "used frequently and rhe idea of what was needed to make a society civilized was extended. The
wirhour any variation of meaning as an indispensable term rhar is obviously civilizing of rhe state, rhe consriwrion and education, and therefore the
generally undersrood ... ;o JiberatioLn of broader sections of rhe population from all that was still barbaric or
Holbachs Sy.rtl:i11e de f,7 lhltitre of 1770 did nor yet contain the word cil'i!isc1tio11 . irrational in existing conditions. whether ir were the legal penalties or the class
In his S_Jsti:111t sociale of 1774. citi!isdtio11 was used frequently. He says. for restrictions on rhe bourgeoisie or the barriers impeding a freer development of
The Ciri/i:;ing PmCo:ss

trade. this civilizing muse follow rhe refinement of manners and the internal sure. entirely lacking in aristocratic elements assimilated by the bourgeoisie
pacification of the country by the kings Nevertheless, for large areas of the German culrural tradition and German
'The king succeecled". Voltaire once said of the age of Louis XIV "in making behaviour, the specifically middle-class characteristics were predominanr.
of a hi the no turbulent nation a peaceful people dangerous on! y to i cs particularly as rhe sharper social division bourgeois and aristocratic
enemies. i'vfanners were softened .. ;, It will be seen in more detail lacer how circles, and with ir a relative heterogeneity ot German manners, survived long
important chis internal pacification was for the civilizing process Conclorcec, after the eighteenth century.
however. who was by comparison with Voltaire a reformist of the younger The French concept of ciz-ili.wtion reflects the specific social fortunes of the
generation and alreacly far more inclined ro opposition. commentecl as follows on French bourgeoisie to exactly the same degree char the concept of K!!ltur reflects
chis reflection of Volrnire's: "Despite the barbarity of some of the laws. clespite che German. The concepc of dz i!i.rt1tion was firsr. like Ki!ltm-. an instrument of
rhe faulrs of the administracin: principles, the increase in cluties, their burden- middle-class circles-above all. rhe middle-class intelligentsia-in the internal
some form. the harshness of fiscal laws, despite the pernicious maxims which social conflict. \vich the rise of the bourgeoisie, it too came rn epitomize the
direct the government's legislation on commerce ancl manufacture. and finally rnirion. rn express rhe national self-image. In the Revolution itself ciri!isc1ti1il!
despite rhe persecution of the Protestants. one may observe that the (which. of course, referred essentially ro a gradual process, an evolurion. and had
within the realm lived in peace under the protection of law... not yer discarded its original meaning as a watchword of reform) did not play
This enumeration, itself not entirely without affirmation of the existing order, anv considerable part among the revolutionary slogans. As che Revolution grew
gives a picture of the many rhings felt to be in need of reform . \vhether or not moderate, shortly before tht turn of rhe century', it scarred on its journey as
the term cirilisati1Jl1 was here used explicitly, it related to all chis, to everything a rallying cry throughout the world. Even as early as chis. it had a level of
which was still "barbaric" meaning justifying French aspirations co national expansion and colonization. In
This discussion makes wry clear the divergence from the course of develop- 1798. as Napoleon sec off for Egypt. he shouted ro his troops: "Soldiers, you are
ment in Germany and, with it, from German concepts: it shows how members undertaking a conquesc with incalculable consequences for civilizacion ... Unlike
of the rising middle-class intelligentsia in France stood partly wirhin rhe court che situation when the concept was formed. from now on nations came to
circle. and so wirhin rhe courtly-aristocratic tradition. They spoke che language consider the J1111(cJS of civilization as completed within rheir own societies: they
of chis circle and developed it further. Their behaviour and affecrs were. with came to set themselves as bearers of an existing or finished civilization to ochers.
certain modifications. modelled on the patcern of chis tradition Their concepts as standard-bearers of expanding civilization . Of the whole preceding process of
and ideas were by no means mere antitheses of chose of the courtly aristocracy. civilization nothing remained in their consciousness except a rngue residue. !rs
Around courtly-arisrocraric concepts such as rhe idea of "being civilized", they outcome was taken simply as an expression of their own higher gifts: the fact
crystallized. in conformity with their social position within rhe courc circle. char. and the question of how. in the course of many cenruries. civilized
further ideas from d1t area of rheir political and economic demands, idtas which, beh,niour has been arcaintd is of no interest And the consciousness of their own
owing to the different social sirnacion and range of experience of the German superiority, the consciousness of this "ci\ilizacion". from now on serves ar least
intelligentsia. were largely alien ro it and at any race far less relevant chose nations which have become colonial conquerors. <lnd therefore a kind of
The French bourgeoisie-politicalh active, ar least partly eager for reform. upper class rn large sections of che non-Eurnpean world. as a justification of their
and even. for a shore period, revolurionary-remained strongly bound to rhe rule, to the same degree char earlier rhe ancestors of the concepc of civilization.
courtly tradition in its beha\iour and its affect-moulding even afrer the edifice of politusc and "iz'i!it(. had served the courtly-aristocratic upper class as a justifica-
the old regime had been demolished. For through the close contacr between tion of cheirs
aristocratic and middle-class circles, a great part of courdy manners had long Indeed, an essential phase of the civilizing process was concluded at exactly
before the revolurion become middle-class manners. So it can be understood chat rhe time when the cr111.rcio11.r11ess of civilization. the consciousness of the superiority
the bourgeois revolution in France. though it destroyed the old political of their own behmiour and its embodimenrs in science, technology or arr began
scrucrnre. did not disrupt the uniry of traditional manners rn spread over whole nacions of the \vtst
The German middle-class inrelligenrsia. politically entirely impotent but This earlier phase of rhe civilizing process. the phase in which the conscious-
inrellecrually radical. forged a purely bourgeois tradition of its own, di\erging ness of the process scarcely existed and the concept of civilizacion did nor exisr
widely from the courtly-aristocraric tradition and its models. The German at all. \\ill be discussed in Part Two
national character which slowly emerged in rhe nineceenrh century was not, to be
Civilization as a
Transformation of
Human Behaviour

The History of the Concept of Civilite

l. The decisin: antithesis expressing the self-image of che \Vest during rhe
Middle Ages was chat becween Christianiry and paganism or. more exacdy,
berween de\'OUL Roman-Larin Christianiry. on che one hand. and paganism and
heresy, including Greek and Eascern Christianicy, on che orher 1
Jn the name of che Cross. and lacer in char of ci,ilization. \\7escern society
waged. during che Middle Ages. ics wars of colonizacion and expansion. And for
all ics secularizacion. rhe wacchworcl "ci\'ilizarion" always rerained an echo of
Larin Chriscendom and rhe knighdy-feudal crusade The memory rhac chivalry
and che Roman-Larin faich bear wirness w a particular srage of \Vesrern sociery.
a srnge which all rhe major \Vescern peoples have passed chrough, has cerrainly
nor disappeared.
The concepr of ciz'iliti acquired irs meaning for \Vesrern sociery ar a time when
knighdy sociery and rhe unicy of rhe Carbolic church were disinregraring. Ir was
rhe incarnarion of a sociery which, as a specific srage in rhe formarion of \Vestern
manners or "civilization". was no less important rhan the feudal society before ir
The concept of cil'ilite. coo. was an expression and a symbol of a social formation
embracing rhe most diverse narionaliries, in which. as in rhe Church, a common
language was spoken. first Italian and rhen increasingly French. These languages
rook over the function earlier performed by Larin. They manifested che unity of
Europe. and at the same rime the new social formarion which formed its
backbone, court society. The sirnacion, che self-image, and the characceristics of
this sociery found expression in che concept of cizilitt!
2. The concept of cirilite received the specific stamp and funccion under
discussion here in the second quarter of che sixteenth century. Irs individual
starting-point can be exacdy determined Ir owes the specific meaning which
btcamt socially accepted ro a short rreatise by Erasmus of Ronerdam, De cil'i!itate
11111m111 /i!!eri!iml! (On ci,ility in boys). which appeared in 1530 This work clearly

treated a rhemt that was ripe for discussion It immediately achieved an enormous
circulacion. going through edition after edition. Ewn wichin Erasmus's lifetime-
rhat is, in che first six years after its publication-it was reprinted more chan rhircy
rimes.' In all, more drnn 1.70 edicions may be counted. l .o of them as late as ri1e
c:ighteemh century The mulcimde of uanslacions, imitations and sequels is almosc
without limit. Two years after the publication of the treatise the first English
rranslacion appeared In 15 3-i it was published in catechism form. and at this rime
it was already being introduced as a schoolbook for the education of boyso German
and Czech translacions followed. In 15.0,7, 1559. 1569 and 1613 it appeared in
French. newly translated each ume.
-18 Thi: Cizi/i:;i11g P/'IJ<HJ
Change.I in th, Blh11io1tr of the Sumlm Uppi:r Clc1ssts in th, \Fest

As early as rhe six[eenrli century a panicular French [ypeface was giw:n rhe
[ liin"s
chat have in [ht meantime become unspeakable, and of many others [hat
name cil'i!it,. afo:r a French work bv Marhurin Cordier which combined doctrines
are now raken for granted.'
from Erasmus's trearist with [host of anodier humanise, Johannes Sulpicius. And
Erasmus speaks. for example, of rhe way people look. Though his comments
a whole gtnrt of books. directly or indirectly influenced by Erasmus's [rta[ise,
are meam as instruction. [hty also bear witness to the direc[ and lively
appeared under the title Cil'i!iti! or Ciriliti! p11t!1i/,; these were primed up w the observa[ion of people of which he was capable . "Sine oculi placidi, verecundi,
encl of the eigh[eemh century in [his ciziliti! [ype.'
composici", he says, "non torvi, quocl es[ truculenciae nun vagi ac volubiles,
_:; Here, as so ofren in the history of words, and as was w happen lacer in the quod es[ insaniae. non limi quod est suspiciosorum et insidias molemium. : This
de\elopmem of the concept of ciz'ilitu into cil'i!isation, an individual was the can onlv with difficulty be cransla[ed withou[ an appreciable a!rtra[ion ot tone:
instigawr. By his rrearise. Erasmus ,gave new sharpness and impetus to the long- a look is a sign of stupidi[y, srnring a sign of inenia; rhe looks of chose
esrablishecl and commonplace word cizi!it.rs \\fittingly or noc, he obviously prone w anger are wo sharp; wo lively and eloquent [hose of the immodes[; if
expressed in i[ some[hing [hat me[ a social need of the [ime . The concept of vour look shows a calm mind and a respectful amiabili[y, thar is best. Nor by
"il'ilitas was hencefonh fixed in the consciousness of people with the special sense do [he ancients say: the sear of [ht soul is in [he eyes . "Animi seclem esse
i[ received from his creacise . And corresponding words were developed in the in oculis ...
various popular languages: the French ,-Jri!itu, the English "civility", the Iralian Bodily carriage, gestures, dress, facial expressions-this "omward" behaviour
ciz'i/t,/, and [ht German Zizi!itdt, which. admittedly, was never so widely adopted wi[h which the treatise concerns irself is [he expression of die inner, rhe whole
as the corresponding \\ords in rhe ocher grta[ cul[ures. person. Erasmus knows [his and on occasion srn[es i[ explicidy: "Ai[hough chis
The more or less sudden emergence of words within languages nearly always omward bodily propriety proceeds from a well-composed mind. nevenheless we
points w changes in the lives of people themselves, panicularly when the new somerimes find [hat, for want of instruction, such grace is lacking in excellent
concep[s are dts[ined w become as central and long-lived as [hese and learned men ...
Erasmus himself may nor have arcribmed any parcicular imponance w his There should be no snot on [ht nostrils, he says somewhat la[tr. A ptasam
shore creacise D, cil'ilit11h 11tff/t1111 p11i:1ili11111 wi[hin his coral fff:ttzrf:. He says in die wipes his nose on his cap and cmu, a sausage maker on his arm and elbow. Ir does
imroclucrion [ha[ the an of forming young people involvc:s various disciplines, nor show much more propriety to use one's hand and dien wipe it on one's
bm [ha[ [ht cirilir.rs 1i1om;11 is only one of [hem. and he does noc deny [ha[ ir is clothing. It is more decent w rake up [he snot in a clodi. preferably while rnrning
m;.rsns111!?! Jurs ld1t grosses[ pan of philosophy). This trta[ise has i[S away. If when blowing the nose wi[h [WO fingers some[hings falls w rhe ground.
special imporrnnce less as an individual phenomenon or work [han as a sympwm it muse be immedia[ely trodden away wi[h [ht foor. The same applies w spinle.
of change, an embodimtm of social processes. Abo\e all, i[ is [ht resonance, the \\/i[h [he same infinite care and maner-of-facrness with which chese things are
c:levacion of dit [ide \\ore! tu a cemral expression of [ht st!f-imerprernriun of said-[he mere mention of which shocks the "civilized" person of a later stage
European socit[y. \vhich draws our acrencion w [his [rtatise. wi[h a different afftc[in: moulding-we art mid how one oughc rn si[ or greer.
-!. \'Vhar is [ht trta[ise abom' Its [heme muse explain ro us for whar purpose Gesrnres are described that have become strange w us. e . g., standing on one leg.
and in wha[ sense die conctp[ was needed Ir mus[ conrnin indica[ions of [ht And we migh[ reflect that many of the bizarre movements of walkers and dancers
social changes and processes which made die word fashionable . [ha[ we see in medieval paintings or srarnes do nor only represent the "manner"
Erasmus's book is abou[ somt[hing very simple: die behaviour of people in of die painter or sculpwr but also preserve acrnal gestures and movements cha[
socit[y-above alL bm no[ solely. "outward bodily proprit[y .. It is dedicated w have grown strange to us, embodiments of a different menrnl and emotional
a noble boy, a prince's son, and written for the instruction of boys. It contains
The more one immerses oneself in the litde treatise, [he clearer becomes [his
simple rhough[s delivered with grear seriousness, yer ar [he same rime wi[h
picture of a socie[y wi [h modes of behaviour in some respec[s rel aced to ours, and
much mockery and irony. in clear. polished language and wi[h enviable precision .
in many ways remo[t. \'Ve see people sta[td ar table: "A dextris si[ poculum, t [
It can be said [ha[ none of i[S successors ever equalled [his treatise in force,
culrellus escarius ri[e purgatus, ad laevam panis", says Erasmus. The goblt[ and
clarity and personal character. Looking more closely, one perceives beyond i[ a
[he well-cleaned knife on the right, on the lefr rhe bread. Tha[ is how [he rnble
world and a pattern of life which in many respects are close w our own, yet in
is laid. Most people carry a knife. hence the precept co keep it clean. Forks
others still quire remo[e; [ht treatise points co acritudes that we have los[, [ha[
scarcely exist. or a[ mos[ for raking mea[ from the dish. Knives and spoons are
some among us would perhaps call "barbaric" or "uncivilized". It speaks of many
very ofren used communally. There is no[ always a special implement for
50 in th1: B,hm'io!!r of th1: 51:mlc1r U/'/'1:1 C!t1ss1:s in the \Vert 51

everyone: if you are offered some[hing liquid, says Erasmus, rns[t i[ and return hungrv or diirs[y. bur because rhty can control rheir movemems in no other way.
[ht spoon afrer you han: wiped i[ lia,e to scrn[ch rheir heads. poke dieir ree[h. gesricuhue wi[h rlieir hands,
\\'hen dishes of mea[ are broughc in, usually everyone ems himself a piece, or play with a knife, or [hty canr help coughing, snoning, and spi[[ing. All rhis
takes i[ in his hand, and pms i[ on his pla[t: if [htrt are pla[eS, otherwise on a reallv comes from a rus[iC tmbarrassmtl1[ and looks likt a form of madness .
[hick slice of bread The expression Cji!t1dra used by Erasmus can clearly mean B;t[ ir is also necessary, and possible, for Erasmus to say: Do nor expose
ei[her a mernl pla[t or a slice of bread widiom necessiry "die pans rn which Narnre has amiched modesty". Some
"Quidam ubi ,ix bent considerim mox manus in epulas conjicium Some pm prescribe, he says, rha[ boys should "rernin [he wind by compressing [he belly ..
rlieir hands into the dishes when [hey are scarcely sta[tcl. says Erasmus . \Valves Bur vou can conrracr an illness [har way. And in anmher place: "Reprimere
or glutwns du rliac. Do nor be [ht firsr w rnke from a dish [ha[ is brough[ in. quern natura fen, ineprnrum es[, qui plus uibuunt civilirati, quam
Leave clipping your fingers imo rhe brorh w die peasants. Do no[ poke around salmi" <Fools who value civiliry more rhan healrh repress narnral sounds) Do nm
in [ht dish bm rnke rhe firs[ piece [ha[ presents irself. And jus[ as i[ shows a be afraid of vomi[ing if you musr; .. for ir is no[ vomiting bm holding the vomit
want of forbearance w search [ht whole dish wi[h one's hand-" in omnes parinae in vour rhroa[ rha[ is fou1
plagas manum mi[[tre"-neirher is i[ very poli[t w turn [ht dish round so rhar S. \Virh grea[ care Erasmus marks our in his [rea[ise [ht whole range of
a be[[er piece comes w you. \Vha[ you canno[ rnke wi[h your hands, rnke on your human conduc[, rhe chief sirnarions of social and convivial life. He speaks wirh rhe
q1111d1t1. If someone passes you a piece of cake or pasuy wirli a spoon, ei[her rnke
same ma[[er-of-facrness of [he mosr elemel1[ary as of [he subdesr ques[ions of
i[ wirli your or cake rhe spoon offered ro you, pm [ht food on rhe 'fl!t11!m human imercourse In die firs[ chap[er he uta[S .. rhe seemly and unseemly
and rernrn [ht spoon. condirion of rhe whole body .. , in rhe second "bodily culrure .. , in rhe rhird "man-
As has been memioned. plares roo are uncommon . Paimings of table scenes ners a[ holy places". in die founh banquers, in die fifrh meerings, in rhe sixrh
from [his or earlier rimes always offer the same spectacle, unfamiliar to us, [hat amusement and in the sevemh rhe bedchamber. This is die range of questions in
is indica[ed by Erasmuss uea[ist . The rnblt is some[imes covered wirli rich clorlis, die discussion of which Erasmus gave new impetus to the concepr of ciz'ilitas.
sometimes nor, bm always [here is little on ic: drinking vessels, sal[-cellar. Our consciousness is nor always able rn recall [his orlier srnge of our own
knives. spoons, [ha[ is alL Somt[imes we see rhe slices of bread, die qN11drm, rha[ hisrnry wirhou[ hesirnrion The unconcerned frankness wi[h which Erasmus and
in French 'ire called tra11chr1ir or frti!!fJir. E,eryone, from [ht king and queen w die his rime could discuss all areas of human conduc[ is los[ rn us . Much of whar he
peasant and his wife, ta[s wi[h [ht hands. In [ht upper class [here are more says overS[tps our rhreshold of repugnance.
refined forms of [his. One ough[ ro wash one's hands before a meal, says Erasmus. Bm precisely this is one of rhe problems to be considered here . In rracing the
Bm there is as yer no soap for [his purpose. Usually [ht gues[S hold om rheir mmsformarion of [he conctp[S by which differem socieries have [ried rn express
hands and a page pours wa[er over [hem. The warer is some[imes slighdy scented [htmselves, in following back rhe concepr of civilizarion w ics ancesrnr ciz'i!itt!.
wirh chamomile or rosemary.' In good socit[y ont does no[ pm bmh hands inw one finds oneself suddenly on die [rack of die civilizing process i[stlf, of rhe acwal
rhe dish. fr is mos[ refined rn use only [hret fingers. This is one of rhe marks of changes in behaviour [ha[ rnok place in rhe \Vesc Thar ir is embarrassing for us
disrinc[ion be[Wttn [ht upper and lower classes. w speak or even hear of much rhar Erasmus discusses is one of rhe symptoms of
The fingers become greasy.. "Digiws uncrns vel ore praelingere vel ad tunicam [his process. The grea[er or lesser discomforr we feel rnwards people who
tx[ergere incivile es[ .. , says Erasmus. Ir is nm poli[t rn lick [hem or wipe discuss or mention their bodily funcrions more openly, who conceal and resuain
rhem on ones coac Ofren you offer others your glass. or all drink from a [hese funcrions less dian we do, is one of rht dominant feelings expressed in die
communal rankard. Erasmus admonishes: "\Yipe your momh beforehand. You judgemem .. barbaric .. or "uncivilized" Such, dien, is [he nature of 'barbarism
may want w offer someone you like some of rhe meat you are earing. "Refrain and i[S discoments .. or, in more precise and less evaluarive rerms, [he discomem
from [bar .. , says Erasmus. "i[ is nm very decorous w offer somerliing half-earen wirh [he different suucture of affecrs, the clifferem srnndard of repugnance which
rn anmher." And he says further: .. To dip bread you have bi[[en into [he sauce is is srill ro be found roday in many socie[ies which we rerm 'uncivilized", [he
ro behave like a peasant. and i[ shows lirde elegance ro remove chewed food from srnndard of repugnance which preceded our own and is i[s precondition. The
die mou[h and put ir back on die q!!adri!. If you cannor swallow a piece of food, question arises as rn how and why \\ies[ern socie[y actually moved from one
rnrn round discreedy and rl1row ir somewhere ... srandard to die orlier, how ir became "civilized". In considering this process of
Then he says again: "Ir is good if conversation imerrup[s rhe meal from rime civilizarion, we cannm avoid arousing feelings of discomfon and embarrassment .
to rime. Some people ea[ and drink widiom stopping, nor because rhey are Ir is valuable w be aware of rhem fr is necessary. a[ leas[ while considering [his
5.:2 Thi Ci1'i/i::;i11g Pmn:ss 53

process. ro arrempr ro suspend all the feelings of embarrassment and superiority, The Middle Ages have left us an abundance of information on what was
all the value judgements and criticisms associated with the concepts "civiliza- considered socially acceptable behaviour at the rime. Here, too, precepts on
tion" or "uncivilized" Our kind of beha\iour has grown our of rhar which \ve conduct while earing had a special importance . Earing and drinking then
call uncivilized Bur rhese concepts grasp the actual chan!2;e roo srarirnllv and occupied a far more central position in social life than roclay, when rhey
coarsely, In reality, our terms "civilized" and "uncivilized" :10
nor constiCL;te an provicle-freguently, nor always-rather the framework and introduction for
anti thesis of rhe kind rhar exists between "good .. and "bad", bur represent stages conversation and conviviali ry.
in a development which. moreover, is srill continuing. Ir might well happen rhar Learned ecclesiastics sometimes set clown. in Larin, precepts for behaviour rhar
our stage of civilization, our behaviour, will arouse in our descendants feelings of tescir}' to rhe sranclarcl of their society. Hugh of Sr Victor (cl. 11-i 1), in his De
embarrassment similar ro those we somenmes feel concerning rhe behaviour of imtit11tionc n1t1itiam111, is concerned wich rhese guesrions among ochers. The
our ancesrors. Social behaviour and rhe expression of emotions passed from a baptized Spanish Jew Petrus Alphonsi deals with them in his Discij1!inc1 clericalis
form and a standard which was nor a beginning, which could nor in am absolure of rhe early twelfth cemury; Johannes von Garland devotes ro manners, and
and undifferentiated sense be designar;d ro our own, we particularly ro rable manners, a number of rhe 66.:2 Larin verses bearing the ride
denote by rhe word "civilized". And ro uncle rs rand the latter we musr go back in 1\Iora!c scol11ri11111 of 1.:24 l.
rime ro rhar from \vhich ir emerged. The 'civilization .. which we are accusromed Besides these precepts on behaviour from rhe Larin-speaking clerical society,
ro regard as a possession rhar comes ro us apparendy ready-made, wirhour our rhere are, from abour rhe thirteenth cenrnry on, corresponding documents in the
asking how we actually came ro possess it, is a process or part of a process in various lay languages-above all, at tirsr, from rhe courts of the warrior nobility.
which we are ourselves involved Every particular characteristic char we arrribure The earliest records of the manners prevalent in the secular upper class are
ro it-machinery, scientific discmery. forms of rhe scare or whatever else-bears doubtless those from Provence and neighbouring, culmrally related Italy. The
witness ro a particular srrucrure of human relations, ro a particular social earliest German work on m111loisie is also by an Italian, Thomasin von Zirklaria,
srrucrure, and to the corresponding forms of behaviour The guesrion remains and is called The ltalic111 Guest (Der ll'iilsdx Gt1st, pm inro modern German by
whether rhe change in behaviour, in the social process of rhe "civilization" of Ruckerr) Another "courroisie-rexr" by Thomasin, in Italian, rransmirs to us in
people, can be understood, ar least in isolated phases and in its elementary irs German ride an early form of rhe concept of "courcesy" (Hiijfic/;kuit) He refers
features. with any degree of precision. rn this book. which has been lost. as a "buoch von der htifscheir"
Originating from the same knighdy-courdy circle are the fifty Cr;11r!dics by
II Bonvicino da Riva and rhe Hof;:.11cht (Courdy manners) attribured to Tannh;iuser.
Such precepts are also occasionally found in the great epic poems of knightly
On Medieval Manners society, e . g .. rhe Roman ck !t1 r11se" of rhe fourteenth century. John Russell's Book
of N11rt11r,, written in English verse probably in the fifteenth century, already
In Erasmus of Rotterdam's De cizilitate 111om111 ji11trilim11 a particular kind of gives a complete compendium of behaviour for rhe young nobleman in rhe
social behaviour is discernible Even here, the simple antithesis of "ci\ilized" and service of a great lord, as does more briefly The Bah11s Bor,k.
"uncivilized" hardly a1:lplies. In addition there is, primarily in fourcetnth- or fifreemh-cenrury wrsions bur
\Vhar came before Erasmus' \Vas he the first to concern himself with such probably, in pare, older in subsrnnce, a whole series of poems designed as
matters' mnemonics to inculcate table manners, Tisch:;11d1tw of varying length and in rhe
By no means Similar guesrions occupied the people of rhe i\ficldle Ages, of most diverse languages. Learning by heart as a means of educating or condition-
Greco-Roman antiguiry, and cloubdess also of the related, preceding "civiliz- ing played a far greater part in medieval society, where books were comparatively
ations" rare and expensive, than it does roday, and these rhymed precepts were one of rhe
This process has no beginning, and here we cannot trace ir back inclefinirelv. means used ro rry ro impress on people's memories what rhey should and should
\X'herever we start, there is movement, something that went before. Limits nor do in society, above all at table .
necessarily be set to a retrospective inguiry. preferably corresponding ro the .:2. These Tisch:;11ch1c11, or rable disciplines, like medieval writings on manners
phases of the process itself. Here the medieval srandarcl must suffice as a startin"- of known amhorship, are nor individual products in rhe modern sense, records of
point, withour itself being closely examined, so that the movement, rhe curve the personal ideas of particular people within an extensively individualized
development joining ir ro rhe modern age may be pursued society. \Vhar has come down to us in writing are fragments of a great oral
54 55

uadirion. reflections of what acwally was customary in that society: these which does not mean the knightlv
SEf'1 [Lln1 ' '-
class as a whole, but primarilv., the
fragments are significant precisely because they transmit not the great or the courdv circles around the great feudal lords, designated what distinguished them
exuaordinary but the typical aspens of sociecy.. Enon poems handed down under in the.ir own eyes, m1mely the specific code of behaviour that first formed at the
a specific name, like Tannhiiusers or John Russell's Br;r1k o/ Siirt!lr,, are l!rtat feudal courts. then spread to rather broader strata: this process of
nothing ocher than individual versions of one of rhe many strands of uadition :liffertntiarion may, however, be disregarded here . Measured against later peri-
corresponding to the strucrnre of this society. Those who wrote them down wtre ods. rht great uniformity in rhe good and bad m<rnners referred ro--what is
noc tht legislators or creators of these precepts but collectors. arrangers of the called here a particular "srnndard'"-is especially impressive
commands and taboos customary in their society; for this reason, whether or not \vhat was this standard like' \Vhat emerges as typical behaviour, as the
there is a literary connection. similar precepts recur in almost all these writings. pervasive character of its precepts'
They are reflections of rhe same customs. testimonies to a particular standard of Something, in the first place. rhar in comparison to later times might be Gllled
beha\iour and emotions in rhe life of society itself irs simplicity. its 11ai"rtte There are, as in all societies where the emotions are
Ir is perhaps possible on closer examination to discover certain differences of expressed more violently and directly. fewer psychological nuances and com-
customs berwten individual national traditions, and variations in the social plexities in the general stock of ideas. There are friend and foe, desire and
standards. Ptrhaps the material may also reveal certain changts within rhe same aversion, good and bad people
tradition. It appears, for example, that rht tenor and perhaps also the cusroms of
'{ou should i"ollo\\" honourable men and Yem your \\r,1ch on die wicked.
society underwent certain changes in the fourteemh or fifteenth century with the
rise of guild and burgher elements. much as more recently behavioural models
\Ve read this in a German transbtion of the Disticht1 Ct1tl)11is,s the code of
originating in the court aristocracy were adopted in bourgeois circles.
beh<ffiour encountered throughout rhe Middle Ages under the name of Caro. Or
A closer srndy of these modifications within medieval behaviour remains to be
carried our Ir must suffice here to note them, bearing in mind that this medieval in another place:
standard was noc wirhom inner movemem and certainly was not a beginning or \\ihen your companions angtc you. my son, set char niu art nor so hoc-rtmptred char
""bottom rung .. of rhe process of civilization: nor does it represent, as has you regret ir afterwards.q
sometimes been asserted, the "stage of barbarism .. or that of "primitiveness'"
It was a different standard from our own-whether better or worse is not here In eating, roo. everything is simpler, impulses and inclinations are less
at issue. And if, in our 1"ch1:1th1: d11 tt111/1s f'trc!H, we ha\'e been led back step by step restrained:
from the eighteenth to the sixteenth and from the sixteenth ro rhe thirteenth and
twelfth cenrnries. this does not imply that we are. as already stared. in ,-\ man of rttintmenr should not slurp from cht same spoon wich somebody else: chis
anticipation of finding the "beginning'" of the process of civilization It is a is rht: \vay to behan: for at court 'sho oftt:n confronrt:cl with unrefined

sufficient task for present purposes, ro rake the short journey from the mediernl conduce
to the early modern stage in an attempt ro understand what acrnally happened
This is from Tannhiiusers Hof:11cht. 1" Hiihsch1: Lu11h (fine people) were rhe nobles.
to human beings in rhis transition
the courtly people. The precepts of rhe were meant expressly for the
_;. The standard of "'good behaviour'" in the Middle Ages was, like all later
upper class, the knights who liwd at court Noble. courteous behaviour was
standards. represented by a quire definite concept. Through it the secular upper
constantly contrasted to "coarse manners". the conduct of peasants
cL1ss of the Middle Ages, or at least some of its leading groups, ga\'e expression
to their self-image, to what, in their own estimation, made them exceptional.
Some people bite a slice and then clunk it in the dish in a coarse way: refined people
The concept epitomizing aristocratic self-consciousness and socially acceptable 11
re jeer such bad manners
behaviour appeared in French as co11rtoisie, in English as "courtesy .. , in Inilian as
corfr:;ia, along with other related terms, ofren in divergent forms. In Germ<rn it If you have taken a bite from rhe bread, do not clip it in the common dish again
was, likewise in different versions. hiinschcit or hiibr:scheit and also :;11ht. All these Peasants may do that, not '"fine people'"
concepts referred quire directly (and far more oYertly than later ones with rhe
same function) ro a particular place in society They say: That is how people A number o( people gnaw a bone and then put ic back in che dish-chis is a serious
behave at court. By these terms certain leading groups in the secular upper offence
56 Th, Ciz'ilizing Pm1us Ch,111g.:s i11 the Bclh1611111 11/ ihc S,mfar Uj1/1t1 Classes i11 the \Vi:st 57

Do not throw gnawed bones back into the communal dish. From other accounts All rhis was said co adults, nor only to children. From rhe sranclpoint of our
we know rhar it was customary to drop them on the floor. Another precept reads: feelings today, these are very elementary precepts tO be giYen tO upper-class
people, more elemenrnry in many respects dmn what, ar the present stage of
A man who dears his rhroat when he ears and om: who blows his nose in the rableclorh
behaviour, is generally acceprecl as rhe norm in rural-peasant srrara. And rhe
are both ill-bred. I assure ,ou. 1
sanw standard emerges wirh certain variations from rhe c1111rtois writings of orher
Here is another: linguistic areas.
cL In che case of one of these different strands of rradirion, which leads from
If a man wipes his nose on his hand at table because ht knows no better. then he is a
certain Larin forms primarily ro French, but perhaps also co Italian and co a
fool. believe me. 1 '
Proven<;al code of cable manners, a compilarion has been made of the rules
To use the hand to wipe one's nose was a matter of course. Handkerchiefs did not recurring in most or all of rhe variants. 2 ' They are by and large the same as in
yet exisc. But at rnble a cerrnin care should be exercised; and one should on no rhe German Tischwchten. First there is the instruction tO say grace, which is also
account blow one's nose into the tablecloth. Avoid li1;-smackinu and snortinu found in Tannhiiuser. Again and again we find the injunctions to rake one's
b b'
eaters are fi.ircher instructed: allotted place and nor ro couch one's nose and ears ar cable . Do nor put your
elbow on the table, they often say. Show a cheerful countenance. Do not talk too
If a man snorts like a seal when he ears. as some people do. and smacks his chops like
much. There are very frequent reminders not ro scratch oneself or fall greedily on
a Bavarian yokel. he has ;rinn up all good breeding.''
rhe food. Nor should one put a piece char one has had in one's mouth back into
If you have to scratch yourself. do not do so wi rh your bare hand but use your the communal dish; rhis, coo, is often repeated. Not less frequent is rhe
coat: instruction ro wash one's hands before earing, or nor to clip food into rhe salt-
cellar. Then it is repeated over and over again: do nor clean your ceeth wich your
Do not SCC<lpt your throat "irh your bare hand while earing: bur it you have ro. do ir
knife. Do not spit on or over rhe table. Do not ask for more from a dish that has
polirtly with your coat. 1''
already been taken away. Do nor let yourself go ar table is a frequent command.
Everyone used his hands to take food from the common dish. For this reason one \'Vipe your lips before you drink. Say nothing disparaging about rhe meal nor
was nor to touch one's ears. nose, or eyes: anything that might irritate others. If you have clipped bread inco rhe wine,
drink it up or pour the resr away. Do not dean your teeth with the tablecloth.
Ir is nor decent ro poke your fingers inro your ears or eyes. as some people do. or ro
Do not offer others rhe remainder of your soup or the bread you have already
pick your nose while earing These three habits are bad. 1-
bicten into. Do not blow your nose too noisily. Do not fall asleep at cable. And
Hands must be washed before meals: so on.
Indications of the same code of good and bad manners are also found in other
I hear that some ear unwashed (it ir is true. it is a bad sign). May their fingers be
collections of related mnemonic verses on etiquette, in traditions not directly
palsied! 1'
relarecl co rhe French one just mentioned. All bear witness to a certain standard
And in Ei11 .1j1mch dll :::i: tischi: ki:rt (A word to those at table) 19 , another Tischz11d1t of relationships between people, to the structure of medieval society and of ti1e
which Tannhauser's HfJ/:wcht has many affinities with and echoes of. it is medieval psyche . The similarities between these collections are sociogenetic and
demanded that one eat wirh only one hand, and if one is earing from rhe same psychogeneric: rhere may but need not be a literary relationship between all
plate or slice of bread as another, as often happened, with the outside hand: rhese French, English, Italian, German and Latin precepts. The differences
between them are less significant than rhe common fearures, which correspond ro
You should always ear wirh the omside hand: if your companion sirs on your right, ear
the unity of actual behaviour in rhe mediernl upper class, measured against rhe
with your left hand Refrain from earing \\irh both hands?'
modern period.
If you have no rowel, we read in rhe same work, do not wipe your hands on your For example, the Co11rtesies of Bonvicino cla Riva, one of rhe most personal
coat but let rhe air dry rhem. 21 Or: and-in keeping with Italian development-most "advanced" of table guides,
contains, apart from rhe precepts mentioned from the French collection, the
Take care rhar. whatever your need. you do not flush with embarrassment."
instructions to turn round when coughing and sneezing, and nor to lick one's
Nor is it good manners co loosen one's belt at rable. 2 i fingers. One should, he says, refrain from searching out rhe best pieces in rhe
58 The Ciz'i!i:::i11g Prr1ct.rs i11 th, Bcl.urifllll' rr/ the Stm!ar Upper C!t1ssts i11 the \Vi:st 59

dish, and cm rhe bread decendy. One should nor touch rht rim of rhe communal else was needed . To ear in chis fashion was raken for granred. Ir suired
nor11 1.n"
glass with one's fingers. and one should hold the glass with borh hands. Bm here. these people, Bm ir also suited chem co make visible rheir wealth and rank by
mo, the tenor of co111"toisie, rhe standard. the customs are by and large the same. the opulence of their mensils and cable decoration. Ar rhe rich tables of rhe
And it is nor uninreresring rhar when Bonvicino cla Riva's Co!!rttsiu were re\ised diirreenth century the spoons were of gold. crystal. coral. ophite. Ir was
rhrte centuries afrer him. of all rhe rules given by Da Riva only two nor \'try occasionally menrioned rhar during Lent knives wirh ebony handles are used. at
imporrant ones were al rt red: the edi mr advises nor w much rhe edge of the faisrer knives with ivory handles, and inlaid knives ar \Vhirsun. The soup-spoons
communal glass and ro hold it with both hands. and if seYeral art drinking from were round and rather flat co begin with, so char one was forced when using
rhe same glass. ont should refrain altogether from dipping bread inw ir (Da Riva rhem ro open one's momh wide . From rhe fourteenth cenrury onwards, soup-
only required rhar rht \\ine rhus used should be ripped away or drunkJ."' spoons rook on 1!1 oval form.
A similar picrurt could be drawn from rht German uadirion. German Ar rhe encl of rhe Middle Ages rhe fork appeared as an instrument for raking
Tisch:::11d>ten, of which we ha Ye copies from rht fifteenth century, are perhaps food from rhe common dish . A whole dozen forks are w be found among rhe
somewhar coarser in tont rhan rhe ltC1!ic111 Guest of Thomasin von Zirklaria or valuables of Charles V The inventory of Charles of Savoy, which is \'try rich in
Tannhaustr's Hrf:;!!cht from rht rhirreenth cenrury. Bur rhe standard of good and opulent cable mensils. counts only a single fork. 2''
bad manners seems scarcely ro have alrerecl to any considerable exrent. Ic has 5. Ir is sometimes said, "How far we have progressed beyond rhis sranclarcl",
been pointed om thar in one of the later codes which has much in common with although ir is not usually quite clear who is rht "we" with whom rhe speaker
the earlier ones already rnenrioned. rhe new injuncrion appears char ont should idenrities on such occasions, as if he or she dtstrwd pan of rhe credit.
spic nor on rhe cable bur only under it or against rhe wall. And rhis has been The opposite judgement is also possible: "\Vhar has really changedi A few
interprerecl as a sympwm of a coarsening of manners. Bm ir is more rhan customs, no more ... And some observers seem inclined co judge these customs in
questionable whether things were clone very differently in rhe preceding much rhe same way as one would today judge children: "If a man of sense
cenruries, particularly as similar precepts from earlier periods are rransmirctd by had come and told rhese people char rheir practices were unappetizing and
rhe French tradition, for example. And what is to be derived from lirerarure in unhygienic, if rhty had been caught ro ear with knives and forks. these bad
rhe broadest sense is confirmed by paintings. Here, roo, more derailed sruclies are manners would rapidly have disappeared ...
needed: bm compared w rhe lacer age, picrures of people ar cable show. until Bur fCJrms of conduce while earing cannor be isolated . They are a segment-a
well into the fifreenrh century, very sparse cable mensils, even if, in some derails, ycry characteristic one-of rht roraliry of socially instilled forms of conduce
ctrrain changes are uncloubredly present, In rht houses of rhe more wealthy, the Their standard corresponds ro a quire definite social structure. Ir remains to be
plarrers are usually raken from the sideboard, frequendy in no particular order. ascertained what chis srrucrure is, The forms of behaviour of medieval people
EYeryont rakes--or sends for-what he fancies ac rhe momenr. People help were: no less rightly bound to their total way of life. co rhe whole structure of
themselves from communal dishes. Solids (above all. meat) are taken by hand. their existence. than our own behaviour and social code are bound ro ours
liquids with ladles or spoons. Bm soups and sauces are still very frequendy At rimes, some minor srnremtnt shows how firmly mored chest customs were,
drunk. Plates and dishes art lifred ro rhe momh. For a long period, coo, rhere are and makes ir apparent rhar rhey musr be understood nor merely as something
no special implementsJor clifferenr foods. The same knife or spoon is used. The "negative", as a "lack of civilization" or of "knowledge" (as iris easy to suppose
same glasses are drunk from. Frequendy rwo diners ear from rhe same board . from our sranclpointl, bm as something char fitted rhe needs of rhese people and
This was, if ir may so be called. rhe standard earing technique during rhe rhar seemed meaningful and necessary ro chem in exactly this form
Middle Ages, Ir corresponded co a \ery particular sranclarcl of human rtlarion- In rhe eleventh century a Venetian doge married a Greek princess. In her
shi ps and structure of feelings. \Vi chin rhis standard there was, as has been said, Bvzantine circle the fork was clearlv in use, At anv rare, we hear rime she lifted
an abundance of rnodificarions and nuances . If people of different rank were fo.od to her momh "by means of golden with rwo prongs".'-
taring at rhe same rime, rhe person of higher rank was given precedence when This gave rise in Venice w a dreaclfi.11 scandal: "This novelty was regarded as
washing hands, for example, or when raking from rhe dish. The forms of utensils so excessive a sign of refinement char rhe dogaressa was severely rebuked by rhe
varied considerably in rhe course of centuries . There were fashions, bm also a ecclesiasrics who called clown divine wrarh upon her. Shortly afterward she was
very definite rrend char persisred through the flucruacions of fashion. The secular afflicted by a repulsiYe illness and Sr Bonaventure did not hesitare co declare that
upper class, for example. indulged in extraordinary luxury at table Ir was nor a chis was a punishment of Goel ...
poverry of utensils char maintained rhe standard, ir was quire simply char Five more cenrurits were to pass before rhe srrucrure of human relarions had
60 Th, Ciz"i!izing Pmt'<Ss ii! the Bd1,11i1Ji!r of the Semlar Uj>/1tr C!c1sses in the West 61

so changed char che use of chis inscrumem mer a more general need. From che between chose of cht Middle Ages and modern rimes. Erasmus's treatise,_ the high
sixceemh cemury on. ac lease among che upper classes, cht fork came imo use as an . i n rhe succession of humanist writings on manners, also has chis double
point . . . . . . .
earing inscrumem. arriving by way of Irnly firsc in France and chen in England and face. In many respects it stands ennrely w1chm medieval cradmon . A good part of
Germany. after having served for a time only for caking solid foods from che dish. the rules and precepcs from rhe L'Oi!l'toi.r writings recur in his treatise. Bm at che
Henri III broughc ic to France. probably from Venice. His courciers were nor a
sarne tjm.,
1 '"''
1t clear!\ contains the beginnings
of something new. In it a concept was

licde derided for chis "affecced" manner of earing. and ac firsc chey were nor very gradually developing which was to force the knightly-feudal concepc of courtesy
adepc in che use of cht inscrumem: ac least it was said chat half the food fell off inro the background. In che course of the sixreemh century the use of the conctpt
che fork as it travelled from plate ro momh As late as che sevtmtenth cemury pf ((!/!l'toisie slowly receded in the upper class, while ciz'i!iti grew more common
rhe fork was scill essemially a luxury article of the upper class. usually made of and finally gained the upper hand, <lt lease in France, in the sevemetmh cen-
gold or silver. \\!hac we rake emirely for gramed, because we have been adaprtd
and condicioned ro chis social srnndard from earliesc childhood. had firsc ro be This is a sign of a behavioural change of considerable proportions. Ir did not
slowly and laboriously acquired and developed by sociecy as a whole This applies rake place, of course, in such a way that one ideal of good behaviour W<lS suddenly_
to such a small and seemingly insignificam ching as a fork no less than ro forms opposed by anocher radically differem from ir.. The De cil'i!itafr 111o;i1111 /Jiitri!i111il ot
of behaviour that appear ro us larger and more imporrnnr. 2H Erasmus-ro confine che discussion ro chis work for che time being-stood in
However, the attitude that has just been described cowards che "innovation" of roam rtspecrs. as we have said, entirely within medieval tradicion. Almost all the
che fork shows one ching wich special claricy. People who are rogechtr in che way rule; of coi!rtois sociecy reappeared in ir. Mtac was still eaten wich the hand, even
cusromary in rhe Middle Ages, caking mear with their fingers from che same if Erasmus scressed that ir should be picked up \vi ch d1fte fingers, nor the whole
dish. wine from che same gabler, soup from rhe same pot or rhe same place, with hand. The precept nor ro fall upon the meal like a glutton was also repeated. as
all the other peculiarities of which examples have been and will furchtr be were the direcrion to wash one's hands before dining and cht strictures on
given-such people srood in a differem relationship ro one another than wt do . spitting. blowing che nose, the use of the knife, and many ochers . Ir may be char
And chis involves not only rhe level of clear, rational consciousness; their Erasmus knew one or another of the rhymed Ti.rch:::i!chtw or the clerical wricings
emotional life also had a different suucrnre and characrer. Their affecrs were in which such questions were treated. Many of these writings were no doubt in
conditioned ro forms of relationship and conduct which, by roday's standard of circulation: it is unlikely that chey escaped Erasmus. More precisely demonstra-
conditioning, are embarrassing or at lease unattractive. \\!hat was lacking in this ble is his relation to the herirage of antiquity. In rht case of this ueacise, it was
coiirtois world, or ac lease had nor been developed ro che same degree, was che pardy shown by che commentaries of his contemporaries. Its place in rhe rich
invisible wall of affecrs which seems now ro rise becween one human body and humanist discussion of these problems of education and propriety remains ro be
anocher. repelling and separating, che wall which is ofren percepcible roday at che examined in more derail co' Bm whatever rht licerary interconnections may be. of
mere approach of someching that has been in comacr with rhe momh or hands primary inrtresc in chis context art rht sociogenetic ones . Erasmus certainly did
of someone else. and which manifescs itself as embarrassmem at the mere sight nor merely compile this treatise from other books; like anyone who reflects on
of many bodily functions of others, and ofren at cheir mere mention, or as a such quescions, he had a particular social code, a particular standard of manners
feeling of shame when one's own functions are exposed ro the gaze of ochers, and direcdv before his eves. This ueatise on manners is a collection of observations
by no means only chen. from r,he life of hi; society. Ir is, as someone said later, "a little the work of
evervone". And if noching else. its success. its rapid dissemination. and ics use as
III an educational manual for boys show how much ir mer a social need. and how it
recorded rhe models of behaviour for which the time was ripe, which society-or,
The Problem of the Change in Behaviour during more exactly, the upper class first of all-demanded.
the Renaissance 2 Sociecy was 'in cransirion". So, roo, were works on manners. Even in the
tone. the m;mner of seeing, we feel char despite all their atrachment ro the 1fiddle
1 Diel che thresholds of embarrassment and shame advance at the time of Ages someching new was on the way "Simplicity" as we experience ir, the simple
Erasmus' Does his treatise conrnin indications char the frontiers of sensibility and opposition of 'good" and "bad", "pious" and "wicked", had been lose. People
the reserve which people expected of each other were increasing' There are good saw chings with more differemiarion. i.e., with a scronger restraint of their
reasons for supposing so. The humanists works on manners form a kind of bridge emocions.
62 Th, Ci1iii::i11g Pmce_r_r
. differences between such \Hirers Thar their writings do not contain as
It is not so much. or at least nor exclusively. the rules themselves or the ,111 cl r lle . -
much as others to which we habitually give more atttnt!On. the exuaorclm'.1n
manners to which they refer that distinguish a pan of the humanistic \Hitings-
'd t- in oursrnnclinu incli\idual., that the\- are forced b\. their subject irsdt to.
abovt all. rhe treatise of Erasmus-from the cr1i1rt11i_c codes. It is first of all their o .

tone. their way of seeing . The same social rules which in rhe .Middle Ages \HTe ao'l1ere
. . cl(Jsch
- . to social realit\".
. uuiws them rheir special siu:nihcance
. . ._ as a source of
passed impersonally from mouth to momh were now spoken in the manner and iuformarion on social processes
with the emphasis of someone who was nor merely passing on tradition. no But che observations of Erasmus on this subject are nevertheless to be
matter how many medieval and. above all. ancient \Vfitings he may have num ber cod ' 1lon"
' o
with a few b\- other authors from the same phase. among che
absorbed. bur who had obser.-ecl all this personally. who was recording experi- exctp tlons in rhe tradition of wririnu:
._ on manners For in them the presentation
enci:. of partly very anciem precepts and commands was permeated by a very
Even if chis were nor seen in Dr cfrilih1!t JIJ(Ji!f/JJ /'!ltri!i1m1 irstlf. wt should individual cemperamenc And precisely that was. in irs turn. a "sign of rhe
know it from Erasmus's earlier writings. in which the permeation of medieval es -'1n
(!!11 ex1)rtssion
. - of <l transformation of societ\".
a s\mptom
of what is
and ancient tradition with his own experience was expressed perhaps more clearly somewhat misleadingly called "individualiz,uion" It also points to something
and directly. In his Cu!!uq11ir:s, which in pan cerrainly draw on ancient models else: rhe problem of behaviour in society had obviously taken on such importance
(above all, Lucian). and particularly in the dialogue Diz ersori::1 (Basel, 15 ), in this period that even people of extraordinary talent and renown did nor
Erasmus described directly experiences elaborated in the later crearist. disdain to concern rhemsehes with it. Later chis task fell back in ,u:eneral to
The Din:;_rr1ric1 is concerned with the difference between manners at German minds of rhe second and rhird rank. who imitated. cominued. extended. thus
and French inns. Ht describes. for example. the interior of a German inn some gi\inu: rise once more. ewn if nor so strong!\ as in the .i\{iddle Ages, to a more
eighty or ninety people are sirring together. and ir is stressed that they are nor impe;sonal tradition of books on manners
only common people bur also rich men and nobles. men. women and children, The social rninsirions connected with the changes in conduct. manners and
all mixed rogtrher. And each is doing what he or she considers necessary. One feelin(.(s of embarrassment will be dealt with more specifirnlly later. Howtncr. an
W<lShts his clothes and hangs the soaking articles on rhe srove. Another washes of them is needed here for an understanding of Erasmus's own
his hands. Bur the bowl is so clean. says the speaker. rhar one needs a second one position, and therefore of his way of speaking ,1bour manners.
ro cleanse oneself of the \\arer. Gari ic smells and other bad odours rise. Peoplt Eni;muss ue<1tise came <lt a rime of social restructuring. Ir is rhe expression of
spit everywhere. Someone is cleaning his boots on the table. Then the meal is rhe fruitful transitional period after the loosening of the medieval social hierarchy
brought in. Everyone clips their bread inro the general dish. bites the bread and and before the stabilizing of the modern one. Ir belonged ro the phase in which
dips it in again . The place is dirty, the wine bad And if one asks for a better rhe old nobility of feudal knights \\as still in decline, while che new aristocracy
wine the innkeeper replies: I have put up enough nobles and counts. If it does of d1e absolutist courcs was still in rhe process of formariC1n This situation gave,
nor suit you. look for other quarters among or hers. the representatives of a small. secular-bourgeois intellectual class.
The stranger ro the country has a particularly difficult rime. The ochers stare rhe humanists. and thus Erasmus. not only <in opportunity to rise in social
at him fixedly as if he were a fabulous animal from /1.frica . .i\foremer. these people station. to gain renown and authority. but also a possibility of candour anJ
acknowledge as human beings only the nobles of their own country detachment that was not present to the same degree ei rher before or afterwards .
The room is overheated; everyone is swearing and steaming and wiping
This chance of distancing themselves, which permitted individual representatives
rhemsehes. There are doubtless many among them who bane some hidden
of rhe intellectual class ro totally and unconditionally \\irh none of the
disease: "Probably'. says the speaker. "most of them have the Spanish disease.
social groups of their world-though. of course. they ahn1ys stood closer w one
and are thus no less ro be feared than lepers ....
of them. that of rhe princes and the courts, rhan ro rhe ochers-also finds
"Brave people". says the other. "they jest and care nothing for ir. ..
expression in De ciri!itaff JiM"ilill Erasmus in no way overlooked or
"But this bravery has already cost many lives ...
conceiled social differences. He saw very exactly that che real nurseries of what
"\Vhat are they to do' They are used to ir. and a srout-heanecl man does not
was regarded as good manners in his rime were the princely courts He says. for
break with his habits ...
example, to the young prince ro whom he dedicated his treatise: "I shall address
3. It can be seen char Erasmus, like others who wrote before or after him about
your youth on rhe manners firring ro a boy nor because you are so greatly in need
conduct. was in the first place a collector of good and bad manners that he found
of these precepts: from childhood you have been educated among courtly people
present in social life itself Ir is primarily this that explains both the agreement
64 Th, Ciz'i!i::ing Process Changer in tlx Bchm'io!!r of tht Stmlc1r Upj1tr C!m-se.r i11 the YVtst 65

and you early had an excellent instructor or because all chat is said in this hi "h the later bourgeois am hors of books on manners usually spoke of
re lariv\,.. . o ' .__ .
treatise applies to you; for you are of princely blood and are born to rule ... .1s something alien chat had ro be learned because chat was the way dungs
l ,
But Erasmus also manifested. in a particularly pronounced form, the charac- were done at court. However familiar wirh the subject these authors may h<1ve
teristic self-confidence of rhe intelltcrnal who has ascended through knowledge , _ tl1ev s1Joke of it as omsiclers, wry often with noticeable clumsiness fr was
Dt:tll, . .
and writing. who is legitimized by books, rhe self-assurance of a member of the a rdarively constriettd, regional and penurious intellectual srratum which wrote
humanistic intellectual class who was able ro keep his distance even from ruling in Germany in rhe following period, and particularly after rhe Thirty Years \'Var.
strata and their opinions, however bound to chem he may have been . "Modesty, And only in the second half of rhe eighteenth century, when the German
abon' all, befits a boy", he says ar rht close of the dedication ro the young prince, bourgeois intelligentsia, as a kind of vanguard of the commercial bourgeoisie._
"and particularly a noble boy' And he also says: Tet others paint lions, eagles, atwined new oppormnities for social advancement and rather more freedom or
and ocher creatures on their coats of arms. More true nobili ry is possessed by movement, do we again hear the language and expression of a self-image related
chose who can inscribe on their shields all chat they have achieved through rhe tO that of rhe humanists, especially Erasmus. Even now, however, rhe nobles were

cultivation of rhe arts and sciences . hardlr ever wld so openly that all their coats of arms were worth less rhan the
This W<lS the language. rhe typical self-image of the intellectual in chis phase of rhe artcs !ibtrales, even if this was ofren enough what was really
of social development. The sociogtnetic and psychogeneric kinship of such ideas meanL
with chose of the German intellectual class of rhe eighteenth century, who \'Vhat has been shown in the introductory chapter on the movement of the late
legitimized themselws by means of concepts such as Kdt11r and Bi/Jiiiig. is eighteenth century goes back ro a far older tradition, ro a pervasive structural
immediately visible. But in the period immediately afrer Erasmuss rime, few cl;aracteristic of German society following the particularly vigorous development
people would have had the assurance or even the social opportunity ro express of the German cities and burgher class cowards rhe encl of the i\Iiclclle Ages. In
such rhoughrs openly in a dedication ro a noble . \'Vith the increasing srnbiliza- France, and periodically in England and Italy also, a proportion of the bourgeois
rion of rhe social hierarchy, such an utterance would have been increasingly seen writers felt rhemselvts ro belong ro the circles of the court arisrocracies: in
as an error of tact. perhaps even as an arrack . The most exact observance of Germany this was far less rhe case. In the other countries, bourgeois writers did
differences of rank in behaviour became from now on rhe essence of courtesy. the not write largely for the court-arisrocratic circles bm also identified
basic requirement of cici!iti, at least in France. The arisrocracy and rhe bourgeois with their manners, cusroms and views. In Germany this identification
intelligemsia mixed socially, but ir was an imperative of tact ro observe social of memb;rs of the intelligentsia with the courdy upper class was much weaker,
differences and ro give them unambiguous expression in soci<1l conduct. In less taken for granted and far more rare. Their dubious position (along with a
Germany, by contrast, there was always, from rhe rime of rhe humanises onwards, certain mistrust of those who legitimized themselves primarily by their manners,
a bourgeois intelligentsia whose members, with few exceptions. li\ed more or courtesy and ease of behaviour) was part of a long tradition, particularly as the
less in isolation from arisrocraric court socien-. an intellectual class of specificalh- values of the German court arisrncracy-which was split up into numerous
middle-class characrer. greater or lesser circles. not unified in a large, central "Society', and moreover
4. The development of German writings on manners and the way these bureaucratized at an early stage-could not be as fully cultivated as in the
writings differed from rhe French give numerous clear illusrrations of this . Ir \"lesrern countries. Instead, there emerged here more sharply than in the Western
\\ould lead wo far ro pursue this here in derail. bm one need only think of a countries a split between rhe university-based culrural-bureaucraric tradition of
work like Dedekinds G1obim!!!s;" and its widely disseminated ,ind influential Kult!!r of the middle class, on the one hand, and the no less bureaucratic military
German translation by Kaspar Scheidt to be aware of rhe difference. The whole tradition of the nobility. on the ocher
German g1ohia11isch (boorish) literature in which, spiced with mockery and scorn. 5 Erasmus's treatise on manners had an influence both on Germany and on
a very serious need for a "softening of manners" finds expression, shows England, France and Italy. \"!hat linked his attitude with that of the later
unambiguously and more purely than any of the corresponding traditions of German intelligentsia was the lack of identification with the courtly upper class:
other nationalities the specifically miclclle-class character of its writers. who and his observation that the treatment of "civility" was without doubt crassissima
included Protestant clergymen and teachers. And the case is similar wirh most of phi!osophiae pars points t0 a scale of values which was not without a certain kinship
what was written in the ensuing period about manners and etiquette in t0 the later evaluation of Ziz.i!isation and K11/t111 in the German tradition.

Germany.. Certainly. manners here wo were scamped primarily at rhe courts: but Accordingly. Erasmus did not see his precepts as intended for a particular
since the social walls between the bourgeoisie and the court nobility are class . He placed no particular emphasis on social distinctions, if we disregard
66 Th, Cii'ifi:;i11g Prr1c<.1J i11 the Behm io111 of th1: Swdar UjJJ11:r Classes in th1: \\'est 67

occasional criticism of peasants and small tradesmen Ir was precisely chis lack of . it ]orcis when rhev stroll among rhe crowd" Or he savs: "You should leave
the gre' - _ ,_ . . .
a specific social oritnrncion in the precepts, their prtstnrncion as general human co a few courtiers rhe pleasure of squtezrng_ bread ll1 tht band and_ d:en breakrng
rules, chat distinguishes his rrearist from irs successors rn the Indian and it off with the fingertips. You should cut 1r dtctndy with a knife.
esptcialh rhe French traditions 6. Bur here again we see \ery clearly the difference between this and the
Erasmus simply says. for example. rncessus nee fracrns sir, ntc pratceps . " medieval manner of giving directions on behaviour. Earlier, people were simply
(One's srtp should be neichtr coo slow nor coo quick) . Shordv afterwards. in his "ive one example, "The bread cut fayre and do nor brtake"'.' Such rules
[0 Id ' ( 0 b
Gt1!:1teo. rht Italian Giovanni della Casa says rht same thing (ch VL 5. pr III). are embedded by Erasmus direcdy in his experience <rnd observation of people.
Bur for him the same precept had a direct and obvious function as a means of The rradiriom1l precepts. mirrors of ever-recurring customs. awaken in his
social distinction: "Non dee l'huomo nobile correre per via, ne rroppo affrecrarsi, observations from a kind of pttrifaccion. 1\n old rule ran: "Do nor fall greedily
cht cio comiene a palafreniert t non a gentilhuomo. Ne percio si dee andare si upon the food."
lemo. ne si contegnoso come femmina o come sposa." !The noblemen ought not
Do nor ear bread before rhe meat is served. for rhis would appear greedy
rn run like a lackey, or walk as slowly as \\omen or brides,) It is characrerisric,
and in agreement with all our ocher observations. that a German translation of Remember ro empry and wipe your momh ber-ore drinking.'
Gal{/fUJ-in a five-language edition of 1609 (Geneva)-rtgularly sought. like the
Latin translation and unlike all rhe ochers, ro efface rhe social differentiations in Erasmus gives the same advice, but in so doing he sees people direcdy before
the originaL The passage quoted. for example. was rranslactd as follows: him: some, he says, devour rather than ear. as if thty were about robe carried off
'"Therefore a noble, or any other hiJm1mt1b!t illcll!, should not run in the srretc or ro prison, or were thieves wolfing down rheir boory. Others push so much inro
hurry coo much, since this befits a lackey and nor a gentleman. Nor should rheir mourhs chat their cheeks bulge like bellows. Ochers pull their lips aparr
one walk unduly slowly like a stately macron or a young bride'" (p. 562). while eating, so that rhey make a noise like pigs. And then follows cht general
The words '"honourable man are instrctd here. possibly referring co burgher rule char was, and obviously had ro be, repeated over and again: "Ort pleno vel
councillors. and similar changes art found in many ocher places; when the Italian bibtre vel loqui, nee honescum, nee rucum (To tar or drink with a full momh
says simply genti!h1ff111111 and cht French gentilhiJ1111111:, rht German speaks of rht is neither becoming nor safe )
virrnous. honoun1ble man and rht Larin of "homo honesrns er bene morarns In all this. besides rhe medien1l cradirion. rhere is cerrainly much from
These examples could be multiplied anriquiry. Bur reading has sharpened seeing, and seeing has enriched reading and
Erasmus proceeded similarly. As a result, rhe precepts chat ht gave without \Vriting
any social characrerizacion appeared again and again in the Iralian and rhtn in Clothing, ht says now and again. is in a sense the body of rhe body. From it
rhe French traditions wirh a sharper limiracion co rhe upper class. while in .ve can deduce rhe attitude of mind. And then Erasmus gives examples of
Germany tht tendency co obliterate the social characteristics remained. twn if what manner of dress corresponds to this or that mental condition. This is the
for a long period hardly a single wrirtr achieved rht degree of social detachment beginning of the mode of observation char will ar a lacer stage be termed
possessed by Erasmus. In this respect he occupied a unique position among all "'psychological"". The new sragt of courtesy and its representation, summed up in
those who wrote on d1e subjecL It stemmed from his personal character. But at che concept of ciz'i!it&, was very closely bound up wirh this manner of seeing, and
the same rime. ir points beyond his personal character co chis rt!arivt!y brief gradually became more so. In order to be really courteous" by rhe standards of
phase of relaxation between two great epochs char wtrt characrerizecl by more cil'i!it(, one was co some extent obliged co observe, to look about oneself and pay
inflexible social hierarchies. attention ro people and rheir motives. In this, roo, a new relationship of person
The ftrtiliry of this loosening transitional situation is perceptible again and to person, a new form of integration is announced.
again in Erasmus's way of observing people. Ir enabled him ro criticize rustic"', Not quite 150 years lacer, when ciz'i!ite had become a firm and srable form of
"vulgar"", or '"coarse qualities without accepting unconditionally (as did most behaviour in the courtly upper class of France, in rhe 111011de, one of irs members
who came lacer) tht behaviour of che grtar courdy lords. whose circle was finally, began his exposition of the sciwce d11111rmdu with these words: "Ir seems ro me rhac
as he himself put it. the nursery of refined conduct. Ht saw very exacdy the co Kquire what is called the science of the world one muse first apply oneself co
exaggerated, forced nature of many courdy practices. and was nor afraid co say so. knowing men as they are in general, and then gain particular knowledge of chose
Speaking of how co hold the lips. for example. he says: "Ir is still less becoming with whom we have to live, thar is co say, knowledge of rheir inclinations ;rnd
co purse rhe lips from rime co rime as if whisding ro oneself This can be left co their b"Ood and bad Oj)inions ' of their virtues and their faults .. ;;
The Cizilizing Process Cha11glS in the Bthario11r of the Swt!e1r UPJM C/{/SStS i11 the \Pest 69

\Vhat is said hert with great precision and lucidity was anticipated by . Eras n1 us , Casri o"lione ' Della Casa, and others were produced. People, forced t0_
Erasmus But chis increased tendency of society and therefore of writers to live with one another in a new way, became more sensitive t0 the impulses ot
observe, to connect tht particular with the gtneral, seeing with reading, is found - Nlor 1brupdv bur verv 0uraduallv the code of behaviour became stricter
ot lier,. ' - - -
not only in Erasmus but also in the other Renaissance books on manners, and and rhe degree of considerarion expected of ochers became grearer The sense of
certainly not only in these when w do and what not t0 do in order not to offend or shock others became
1. If one asks, therefore, about the new tendencies'' that made their subtler, and in conjunction with rhe new power relationships the social
appearance in Erasmus's way of observing the behaviour of people-chis is one of erHive nor to offend ochers became more binding, as compared to the
imp '
them. In the process of transformation and innovation chat we designate by the preceding phase. . .
term "Renaissance", what was regarded as ''firring" and 'unfitting" in human The rules of co11rtoisic also prescribed, say norhmg chat can arouse conflict, or
intercourse no doubt changed to a certain degree. But the rupture was not anger ochers'':
marked by a sudden demand for new modes of behmiour opposed w the old . The
rradirion of cu1trtuisie was continued in many respects by the society which Non dims verbum
cuiqw1m quod ei sir acerbum .,,
adopted the concept of ciz.Z!itas, as in Cil'i!itm 111om111 j/l!erili11111, to designate
socially "good behaviour".
'Be a good table companion":
The increased tendency of people t0 observe themselves and ochers is one sign
of how rhe whole guestion of behaviour was now raking on a different character:
Awayre my chylde, ye be have you manerly.
people moulded themselves and others more deliberately than in the Middle Ages. \V"hen ar your mere ye si rte at the cable
Then rhey were wld, do this and nor that; bur by and large a great deal was Jn euery prees and in euery company
lee pass. For centuries roughly the same rules, elementary by our srandards, were Dispose you ro be so compenable
repeated, obviously withour producing firmly established habits. This now Tl1'lt men may of you reporre for commendable
changed. The constraint exerted by people on one another increased, the demand For thrusteth we! upon your berynge
for "good behaviour" was raised more emphatically. All problems concerned with l\fen wil you blame or gyue preysynge
behaviour rook on new importance. The face that Erasmus brought wgerher in
a prose work rules of conduce that had previously been uttered chiefly in So we read in an English Book of C11rtcsJe. ;- In purely factual terms, much of
mnemonic verses or scattered in treatises on ocher subjects, and for che first time what Erasmus said had a similar tendency.. But the change of tone, the increased
devoted a separate book to the whole question of behaviour in society, not only sensitiviry, che heightened human observation, and the sharper understanding of
at rable, is a clear sign of the growing importance of the guesrion, as is the book's what is going on in orhers are unmistakable. They are particularly clear in a
success. And the emergence of related writings, like the Co!!rtir:r of Castiglione remark at che end of his treatise. There he breaks through the fixed pattern of
or the Ga/,iteo of Della Casa, to name only the most well known, points in the "good behaviour", together with rhe arrogance that usm1lly accompanies it, and
same direction. The underlying social processes have already been indicated and relates conduct back w a more comprehensive humanity: Be lenient towards the
will be discussed in. more derail lacer: the old social ties were, if not broken, offences of others. This is the chief virtue of cizi!itas, of courtesy. A com1xmion
extensively loosened and were in a process of transformation. Individuals of ought not to be less dear to you because he has worse manners. There are people
different social origins were thrown wgether. The social circulation of ascending who make up for che awkwardness of their behaviour by other gifts ... And further
and descending groups and individuals speeded up. on he says: "If one of your comrades unknowingly gives offence cell him so
Then, slowly, in the course of the sixteenth century, earlier here and later there alone and say it kindly. That is civility."
and almost everywhere with numerous reverses until well into the seventeenth But chis accirnde only expresses again how little Erasmus, for all his closeness
century, a more rigid social hierarchy began to establish itself once more, and to rhe courtly upper class of his rime, identified with it, keeping his distance
from elements of diverse social origins a new upper class, a new aristacracy from its code, tao.
formed. For this very reason the guestion of uniform good behaviour became Gtilt1tu1 rakes its name from an account in which Erasmus's precept "Tell him
increasingly acure, particularly as the changed structure of rhe new upper class alone and say it kindly'' applied in reality; an offence is corrected in char very
exposed each individual member tO an unprecedented extent w the pressure of way. But here the courtly character of such customs is emphasized as far more
others and of social control. Ir was in this context char the writings on manners self-evident than in Erasmus
The Bishop of Verona. the Irnlian work rtlatts .. , one day received a visit from ?\knnvs acres can in no plyre abnle
a Duke Richard. Ht appeared rn rht Bishop and his court as "gemilissime The\" .be changeable andt ofre meuide
carnliere e di bellissime maniere The host noted in his guest a single fault. Bur Thi;1gis somryme alo,,ecl is now repn:uid
ht said norbing. On the Duke"s departure the Bishop stm a man of his court, :\.nd :tfrer this shal rhingts up aryst
Thar men sec now bm ar lyryl pr\"Se.
Galareo. ro accompany him. Gahueo had particularly good manners. acquired at
the courts of the great: molro havea de" suoi di usato alle corti de' gran Signori".
This is explicitly emphasized. This sounds, indeed, like a motto for rhe whole movemem char is now coming:
This Galateo rhtrefore accompanies Duke Richard part of rhe way, and says "T'Iin"is somrvme alowed is now repreuid ... The sixreemh cemury was still
tht following to him before raking his leave: His master, rhe Bishop, would like l' transirion Ernsmus and his contt:mporaries were still permim:cl
w 10 ' .
to make rhe Duke a parting gifr The Bishop has never in his life seen a . k iboLlt
w spe.1 , rl11.n"S
a ,
fLmcrions ' and wavs
of behaving
that one or rwo cenrunes
nobleman with berrer manners than rhe Duke. He has discovered in him only a later were overlaid wirh feelings of shame and embarrassment. <me! whose_ public
single fault-ht smacks his lips too loudly while earing. so making a noise that . re or mention were IJroscribecl in socitff \Vith rhe same s1mplic1rv and
cxposu - . _
is unpleasant for others to hear. To inform him of chis is rhe Bishop's parring clarit\" with which he and Della Casa discussed quest10ns ot the greartsr tact and
gifr, which ht begs will nor be ill received prop;iery. Erasmus also says: Do nor move back and forth on _your chaic \Vhoever
Tht precept nor to smack rhe lips while earing is also found frequently in does char "speciem haber subinde venrris flatum em1rrenr1s anr em1rrere con-
mecliernl insuucrions. Bur irs occurrt:nce at the beginning of Ga!t1tuJ shows inris ( uives rhe impression of consrantly breaking or crying ro break wind). Tll!S
clearly what had changed Ir nor only clemonsrrarts how much importance was :rill sh;\.S rhe old unconcern in referring to bodily functions char was characrer-
now arrachecl to "good behaviour" Ir shows, abow all, how the pressure people ;sric of medieval people. bur enriched by observation, by consideration of "what
now exerred on one another in this direction had increased Ir is immediarely others 111ighr think" Comments of chis kind occur frequenrly. . .
apparent that this polite, extremely gentle and comparariYely considerate way of Consideration of rhe behaviour of people in rhe sixreenrh century. ,rncl ot their
correcting was. panicularly when exercised by a social superior, much more code of behaviour, casts rhe observer back and forth berwetn rhe impressions
compelling as a means of social conrroL much more effective in inculrnring Thar's srill utterly mediernl" and "Thar's exactly rhe way we feel wclay" And
lasting habirs. than insulrs, mockery or any threat of omwarcl physical vio- nreciselv chis apparent contradicrion clearly corresponds to reality. The people of
lence. ;his b,1d a double face . They sroocl on a bridge. Behaviour and rhe code of
Internally more pacified societies were in rhe process of forming. The old code behaYiour were in morion, bur rhe movement was quire slow. And above all. in
of behaviour was being transformed only step by step. Bur social control was observing a single srage, we lack a sure measure. \Vhar is accidental fluctuation;
becoming more binding. And above all. rht narure and mechanism of affecr- \Vhen where is something advancing; \Vhen is something falling behincP
moulding by socitry were slowly changed. In rhe course of rhe Middle Ages rhe Are we realh concerned with a change in a definite direction? \Vas European
standard of good and bad manners. for all rhe regional and social differences. soc:iet\" realh:, under the watchword of cirilitJ, slowly moving wwards that kind
clearly did nor undergo any decisive change. Over and again, clown the centuries, of char srnndard of conclucr, habits and affect formation, which
rhe same good and bad manners were mentioned The social code hardened imo 1s ch<1racrerisric in our minds of "civilized" society, of \Vesrtrn "civilization";
lasring habits only to a limited extent in people rhemselves . Now, with rhe S. Ir is not vef\" eas1 to make chis movement clearly visible precisely because
srrucrural rransformarion of society. with the new pattern of human relation- it rakes place so .slow.ly-in very small seeps. as it were-and because it also
ships. a change slowly came about: the compulsion to check one's own behaviour shows manifold fluctuarions, following sm<1ller and larger curves Ir clearly does
111creasts In conjunction with chis rhe standard of behaviour was set 111 nor suffice ro consider in isolation each single sragt to which this or that
morion sratemenr on customs and manners bears witness \Ve must <Htempr to see rhe
Caxrons Br1oh of probably of rhe !are tifctenth century. already gives movement itself, or ar least a large segment of it, as a whole, as if speeded up.
unambiguous expression ro chis feeling char habits, customs, and rules of Images must be placed rogerher in a series to give an overnll view, from one
conduct are in flux:'" particular aspect, of the process: rhe gradual transformation of behaYiour and the
emotions, rhe expanding threshold of repugnance.
Thingis whilom used ben now leycl a syde Tht books on manners offer an opportunity for chis. On particular aspects of
And newe feeris. day!\ ben cornreuide human behaviour. panicularly earing habits, rhey give us derailed information-
ch,mges in the Behrffio11r of the Swtfar Upj>er C!mses in the \Vest 73
72 Tix Ciri!i::.ing Procw

\\/hen you ear do noc forger rhe poor. G o d w1 u reward ,_ou if you rrear chem
always on the same ftamre of social life-which extends relatively unbroken, 25
even if at rather forruirous interv1ls, from at least the thirteenth to the nineteenth kindly.*
and rwentierh centuries. Here images can be seen in a series, and segments of the A man o t- re 1111emem should nor slurp from rht same spoon wich someone else:
33 ., ,e '<>r !JtOj)le ar courr who are often confromed wirh
toral process can be made visible. A.nd it is perhaps an advantage, rather than a char is r l1e way co bel1 1 "
disadvantage. that modes of behaviour of a relatively simplt and elementary kind unrefined conduce
are observed. in which scope for individual variation within the social srandard ., Jr is nor police co drink from rhe dish, alchough some who approve of chis rude
1s relatively small. habit insolemly pick up rhe dish and pour ir down as if they \Vere mad
These Tisch::.!!cht1:11 and books on manners are a lirerary genre in rheir own Those who fall upon rhe dishes like swint while earing, snorting disgustingly and
right. If the written herirnge of rhe past is examined primarily from the point of 41
smacking rheir lips
view of what we are accusromed to call "literary significance". then most of chem
-! Some people bite a slice and rhen dunk ir in rhe dish in a coarse way: refined
have no great value . Bur if we examine the modes of behaviour which in every 5
age a particular society has expected of its members, attempting to condition people reject such bad manners.
individuals to them, if we wish to observe changes in habits, social rules and 49 A number of people gnaw a bone and rhen put ir back in rhe dish-chis is a
taboos. then these insrrucrions on correct behaviour, though perhaps worthless as serious offence
literature, rake on <.1 special significance . They throw some light on elements in
the social process of which we possess, ar least from the past, very little direct :r- On \" 25, cf rhe first rule in rht Co11rhshs of Bonvicino d,1 Riva:

information. They show precisely what we are seeking-namely. the standard of The first is this: when at cable, think first of the poor and needy
habits and behaviour to which society <.1t a given rime sought to accusrom 2
On \'V, 3?i. -! 1. cf Ein spr11ch dr:r :, k2r1 (A word rn rhost at table): '
individuals. These poems and rrearises were themselves direct instruments of
"conditioning or "fashioning",'(! of rhe adaptation of individuals ro those modes
.) l) You should nor Jrink from rht dish. bur with a spoon as is proper
of behaviour which the scructure and simarion of their society made necessary.
315 Those who srand ur and snorr disgustingly C)\'tf rht dishes like swine belong with orhtr
A.nd rhey show at the same rime. through what they censure and what they
fitrmyard beasts
praise, the divergence between what was regarded at different rimes as good and
To snort like a salmon. gobble like a badger. and complain while earing-these three things
bad manners. 319
art quire improper

IV fjf

In rht of Bon' icino da Riva:

On Behaviour at Table
Do not slurp with your mourh whtn eat1nt! c
1rom a spoon. This is a bestial ha bi c

(a) Examples represermng upper-class behaviour in a fairly pure form: 201 And suppt nor low<le of thy Potta,gt
no ryme in all thy lyfe
Thirteenth century
This is Tannhiiuser's poem of courtly good manners: n
J\.foy refined ptople bt prtst-rYe d from I l
t 1ose w 10 gnaw
rheic bones and !'Lit them back in the

I consider a well-bred man co be ont who always recognizes good manners and is
never ill-mannered
from Quhq11is in !!NllSd (For those at table):+;
2 There are many forms of good manners. and rhey servt many good purposes The
A morstl that has been casted should not be rtturntcl to the dish.
man who adopts chem will ne,er err
! Th, Cirili:::i11g Pmccss Ch1111ge.r in the Bthal'irwr of the Sem!ar UJ1f7u- Cla.rsc.r in tin \\'est

5 3 Those who iih musrnrJ anJ salt shoulJ rake care to avoid rht filthy habit of
putting their fingers into tbt:m 109 Do nor scrape your rhrnar wirh your bare hand while earing: but if you ban: to,
do it politely with your coar
5-: A man who clears his throat when he eats anJ ont who blows his nose in the J l.3 And it is more firring to scratch wirh rhar than to soil your hand: onlookers notice
tablecloth art both ill-bred. I assure you
people who behave like rhis
65 A man "ho wanes co talk and eat ar the same time. and talks in his sleep. will l l""' You should nor poke your teeth with your knife. as some do: it is a bad
ne,er rest peacefulh-.' babi r. ;;:
l :

69 Do nor bt noiS\' at rable. as some ptoplt are Remember. my friends. rhar nothing 125 Jf anyone is accustomed to loosening his belt at table. rake it from me rhat he is
is so ill-mannen:J
not a true courtier
81 I find it very bad manners whenever I see somtone with food in his mouth and 129 If a man wipes his nose on his hand at table because he knows no better. then he
drinking ar the same time, like an animal **
is a fool. believe me
85 You should not blcm imo your drink. as some are fond of doing: this is an ill- l-ll J hear rhar some eat unwashed (if it is true. it is a bad sign) :\fay their fingers be
mannered habit rhar should be avoided.
95 Before drinking. wipe your mouth so that mu do not dirrv rhe drink: this act of 15 7 Jr is not decent to poke your fingers into your ears or eyes, as some people do. or
courresy should be observed ar all rimes . ,
ro pick your nose while earing. These three habits are bad _
l 05 lr is bad manntrs to lean against tht table while earing, as it is co kttp your
helmet on \1hen sen-ing rhe ladies." B
Fifteenth century?
From seilSJ!il'ei!t le.r [O/J/uitll!CtS de la tahle (These are good table manners): ;CJ
Never laut!h ur talk wirh a foll mourh

Learn these mies

l) If you wish ro drink tlrsr em pry your mourh

Take care to cur and clean your nails: dirt under the nails is dangerous when

1-t\J .r\nd wirht: fulk mourht: drynke in no \\'/Se Ill

\\!ash your hands when you get up and before every meal

! 11 i\r: blow rrnr on r-b;. drynke nt: mere.

:-<ether for co!Jc. fl(thtr for hen:
_10 Avoid clt:aning your ret:th wirh a knife at rnblt:

155 \\"hanne ye simile drynke. rnur rnouthe clence wirhe a cloche

l l Never pick up food with unwashed hands

::: On v. 15-:, cf QuiJ"t.jlliJ tJ h1 11hn.,..i:
From L1 Con!tnir ,; (Guide co behaYiour ar r.iblt) '
9 Touch neirher your ears nor your nostrils wirh your ban: fingers
Do nor :->lobber whi!t: you drink. for rhis a sfrnmeful habit
This small stlecrion of passages was compiled from a brief perusal of VJ.rious guides ro behaviour at
rable and court. Ir is verv far from exhaustive. Ir is intended only to p:ive an impression of how
similar in tone and conte.nr wen: the rules in different traditions an<l different cenruries of rhe
l'.:or on rht.: borde lenynpt: be yet nar sent:
;\fiJdlc A!!ts Ori!'inals may be founJ in ,-\ppendix I
76 The Ciz'ilizing Proass Changes in the BelMrio11r u/ the Semlar Uj1jJt1 Classes i11 the \Fest 77
To dip rhe lingers in rhe sauce is rusric. You should rake whar you wanr wirh your
Do nor be rhe tirsr rn rake from rhe dish
knife and fork: you should nor search through rhe whole dish as epicures are wom ro
do, bur rake whar happens ro be in from of you
\\'bat you cannor rake wirh your lingers should be raken with rhe (ji!adra
Do nor pur back on your plare whar has been in your mourh
If you are offered a piece of cake or pie on a spoon, hold our yom plate or rake the
rhar is held our to you, pur rhe food on your plare. and rerurn rht spoon
If you are offtrtd something liquid. rasre ir and rerurn rhe spoon, bur first wipt ir
Do nor offer anyone a piece of food you han: birren inro
on your servitrre
To lick greasy lingers or ro wipt rhtm on your coar is impolire. Ir is berrer ro use
xv rhe rableclorh or rhe servierre.
Do nor chew anyrhing you have ro spir our again

XVll D
Jr is bad manners ro clip food inro rhe salr-cellar
From G'rt!c1teo, by Giovanni della Casa, Archbishop of Benevenrn, quoted from
the five-language edition (Geneva, 1609), p 68:
Be peaceable, quier. and courreous ar rable

XXVJ \\Thar do vou rhink this Bishop and his noble company (if hscort " !" .wa 11,,f;jf,
If you have crumbled bread inro your wineglass, drink up rhe wine or rhrow ir away. would have said ro rhose whom we sometimes see lying like swine wirh their snours in
rhe soup, nor once lifting their heads and rurning rheir eyes. still less rheir hands. from
XXXI rhe food, puffing our both cheeks as if rhey were blowing a rrumper or trying to fan a
Do nor sruff roo much inro yourself. or vou will be obliged ro commir a breach of fire. nor earing bur gorging themselves. dirtying their arms almost ro the elbows and
good manners . rhen reducing their servitrres ro a srare rhar would make a kirchtn rag look cltan
Nonetheless. rhese hogs are nor ashamed ro use rhe senierres rhus sullied ro wipe
XXXIV away their swear (which, owing to their hasty and excessi,e feeding. often runs down
Do nor scrarch ar rable. wirh your hands or wirh rhe rableclorh rheir foreheads and faces to their necks), and t\en ro blow rheir noses inro rhem as
often as rhey please

1530 E
From De cirilitc1tt mr1r11111 p11u-11,.1,1

(On c1\i1 1r\
. in
boys ), br Erasmus of Rocter- 1560
dam, ch. 4: From a Ciz'i!ite by C Calviac ' 0 (based heavily on Erasmus. bm with some
independent comments):
If a servierre is given. lay ir on your lefr shoulder or arm
If you are seared wirh people of rank. cake off your har and see rhar vour hair is wt!!
combed. \\'hen rhe child is seared. if there is a senierre on rhe plate in from of him, he shall
rake it and place it on his left arm or shoulder: rhen he shall place his brtad on rhe left
Your gobler and knife, duly cleansed, should be on rhe right. your bread on rhe lefr
and rhe knife on rhe right, like the glass. if he wishes to leave ir on rhe rable, and if
Some people pur their hands in rhe dishPs rhe momenr rhe\ h:ne sar down \Volvcs
do rhar, it can be conveniently left there wirhour annoying anyone. For ir might happen rhar
rhe glass could nor be left on rhe rnble or on his righr wirhour being in someone's
Do nor be rhe tirsr ro rouch rhe dish rhar has been brought in. nor onh because rhis
shows you .greedy. bur also because ir is dangerous. for someone who something
The child musr haw rhe discretion ro undersrand rhe needs of rhe simarion he is in
hor 1nro his mourh unawares musr either spir ir our or, if he swallows ir. burn his
\Vhen earing he should rake rhe firsr piece rhar comes to his hand on his curring
rhroar.. In either case he is as ridiculous as he is pi riable.
Ir is a good rhing ro wair a shorr while before so thar rlie boy grows
If rhere are sauces, the child may dip inro rhem decently. wirhour rurning his food
acrnsromed ro tempering his afrecrs
over after having dipped one side
ClassfS i11 the \Vest
Ir is Yery n0cessi1ry tC)r a child to learn at an early age ho\\" to c1ryr: a ltg of nlutton,
a partridge. a rabbit. ar:d such things G
Ic is a far ruo dirry ching for a child co offer ochers somechini: he has i:nawed. or 1672
son1ething he disdains to tat hin1stlf 1111/c\J it /;l tr; hiJ rAuchor"s e;;,r-ihasis] from Anwine de Counin. Sr1ill'ct1i1 trditJ de (iz'ilitJ, pp
Nor is ic decenc co cake from che mouch somerhing he has already cht:wecL and puc
icon che curring board. unless ir be a small boot from which he has sucked rhe marrow if evernmt is earing from rhe same dish. you should rake care nor rn pur \our hand
rn pass rime while awaicing rhe desserc: for afrer sucking ic ht should pm ic on his in(O it rh11.1c. r.1nh h:1n c/011:.. Jt1, and to cakt food only fron1 thr: part ot the
plate. where he should also place che srnnes of cherries. plums. and suchlike. as ic is nor dish opposire you Srill le;s should you rake che btsr pieces. tvtn rhough you mighc be
good eirher rn swallow chem or co drop chtm on che floor rht Jase co help yourself _
The child should noc gnaw bones indecenrll. as dogs do le muse also be poinred our rhar you should always wipt ) our spoon when. after
using it. you want to rake somechinf! fron1 another dish. thr:J:: jJtojJIL' so d:lic.1!t th;.11
\\'hen che child would like salr. he shall rake ir wich che poinr of his knife and nor
with rhree l(Oltfd J](J/ u idi ff; t.I! SO/I/I infr; [{ hi.L )f/f! l.ud .!ippr;,d it /111ttii!p, it itJ!fJ )f1l!r l!JO!tth

[:\uchor s trnphasis} .
The child muse cue his mear inrn n:ry small pitces on his cuccing board and he
And even. if you art at cht cable of ,-ery refined ptople. ic is not enough rn w1pt your
muse nor life che mear rn his mouch now wirh one hand and now wich che ocher. like
spoon: you should nm ust ir bur ask for anocher Also. in many places. spoons are
lirclt: chi!dn::n who are learning ro ear: he should always do so wirh his righr hand.
brought in with rhe dishes. t1nd Stffr rm/) takjng Jtwf! and .1.d!!Cr: [Author's
caking cht bread or meac decenrly wirh chree lingers only.
/b for cht manmr of it \arits co rhe counrn The Germans chew
You should nor ear soup from the dish. bur pl![ ic nearly on your place: it ic is roo
wich che momh closed. and find ir ugly ro do orherwist. The French. on rhe ocher
hor. it is impolire ro blow on each spoonful: you should wair unril ir has cooled
hand. half open che momh. and find che procedure of rhe Germans rarher din\. The
If vou have che misforrune rn burn your mouth. you should tndurt it patienrly if you
Iralians proceed in a \'ery slack manntr <rnd rht: French mort roundlv. findi 1;g che
can ..wirhol![ showini:: ir; bur if rhe burn is unbtar,1b!t. as sometimes happens. you
Indian way coo dtlicact and precious .
should. btfore cht orhtrs have nociced. cake your place promprly in one hand and life
And so each narion has somtrhing of its own. differtnr from rhe ochers So char cht
ir rn vour rnol![h and. while coverini:: your mol![h wich rhe other hand. rewrn to rhe
child "ill proceed in accordance wirh tht cusroms of rht place: where he is
plact .whar you have in your mol![h. and quickly pass ic ro a foorman behind you
Furrher. rhe Germans ust spoons when soup and t\erything liquid. <md che Civiliry requires you ro be police. buc ir does not txptcr you ro be homicidal rnward
Italians lircle forks. The french use eirhtr. as rhey chink fir and as is mosc conn:nienr
rourstlf Ir is very impolire rn much anyching grtasy. a sauct or syrup. ere. wirh your
The Iralians generally prefer to have a knife for each person. Bm rhe Germans place fingers. aparc from rhe face chac ir obliges you rn commie two or rluee more imiroper
special importance on chis. to rhe excenr rhac chey are greacly displeased if ont asks for aces. One is co wipe your hand frtquenrly on your strvierce and co soil ic likt a kicchc:n
or rakes rhe knit(: in from of chem. The French way is quiet differtnr: a whole cable full cloch. so char thost who see you wipe your rnol![h wirh ic fttl nauseactd. Anothtr is ro
of people will use nvo or rhree knives. wirhour makini: difficulries in for or wipe rnur fingers on rnur bread. which again is wn- improper Tht rhird is rn lick
raking a knifi:. <>r passing ic if rhe) have ir Su rhac if s;1nicunc asks rht: child for his them, which is rhe heighr of improprien
knife. he should pass ir afcer \viping ir wich his stn-ierce, holding ir by cht poinr and
offoring rhe handle rn rhc: person requesring ir: for ir would nor bt polirt ro do As rhere art many [cusrnms) which have already changtcl. I do nor doubt that
orherwist several of chest will likewise change in rhe fuwrt
formt:rh- one \\as permirrtd ro dip one's bread inrn rht sauce. provided only char
ont had n:ir alrtach birctn ir. Nowada\s char would bt a kind of rusriciry
F formtrh one w:1s allowed w cake irom one's mol![h whac one could noc ear and
Between 1640 and 1680 drnp ir 0;1
cht Aoor. ])fO\idtd ic was done skilfully Now thar would bt n:r)
From a song by rhe J\Iarguis de Coulanges: s 1 disgusting

In rimts pasr. ptoplt art from rhe common dish and clipped their brtad and fingers in
rhe sauce 1717
From Fran<;ois de Callieres, De !ti S(ience d11 11101/{lt i!f des con11oissa11ces itti!ts Ci la
c1!/lcl11ite dt !ti ziu. pp. 97, 101:
Today tvtryone tars with spoon and fork from his own plat<:. and a valtr washes rht
cuclery from rime w cime ac che butter.
In Gtrmany and rhe Norchern Kingdoms ic is civil and cltcem for a princt rn drink
Changes j 11 the Belx1rio11r of the Sem/111 Upj1ei Classes in the \\/est 81
80 Tht Cirilizi11g Pmcm
the snndard of "civilizacion' which in realicy had been attained
tirsr ro rhe healrh of rhose he is enrerraining, and rhtn ro offer chem tht same glass or fl0 rgotten, t l1at ' cl - b .
t:obler usually tilled wirh rhe same wine: nor is ir a lack of politeness in rhem ro drink
' . cendv W'lS nken for vranred, what precede it emg seen as
only qwte re , ' ' "'
from rhe same glass, bm a mark of candour and friendship. The women also drink tirsr "barbaric"
and rhen give rheir glass, or have ir raken, ro rhe person rhev are addressing, wirh rhe:
same wine from which rhey have drunk his healrh, 11 hhfll!! this t:1kc11 as tJ Jjh:cia! I
,1s it is :1111t;11g 11s [Amhor's emphasis]
"I cannot approYt .. , a lady answers "-wirhour offence ro rhe genrlemen from rhe ' ari anonymous Cizilite frm1caise (liege, 17 14'), p. 48:
From - ,
norrh-rhis manner of drinking from rhe same glass, and srill less of drinking whar rhe
ladies have lefr: ir has an air of impropritry rhar makes mt wish rhey mighr show orher l) olirt ro drink \_our soup from rht bowl unless you <lrt in your own family.
Ir is nor
marks of rheir candour," . cl onlv rhen if you have drunk rht most parr with your spoon. .
,in - , , . s 1 n ., con1munil dish rake some wirh 1our spoon 111 your wrn, w!(hour
It we soup 1 " ' '
(b) From books addressed ro wider bourgeois scrara precipirarion. l k 1
Do nor keep your knife always in your hand, as village people do, }Lit ra e !( on Y
The following examples are from books which either, like La Salle's Les Rl:gles when vou need iL . . cl
de la hiemer111cr: ct de /11 cfrilit{ chn!tie1111e, represent the spreading of courtly manners \V'l;en vou art being strYed meat, ir is nor seemly w rake 1r_ 111 your han. . ou
should hold our your place in your left hand while holding your tork or k01te 111 your
and models to broader bourgeois srrarn, or, like Example I, retlecr fairly purely
the bourgeois and probably the provincial standard of their rime rid1r cl I ld l
"Ir is againsr propriery ro give people meat ro smell, an you s 1ou um er" no_
In Example I, from about 171-i, people still ear from a communal dish, _ msrincts pm me-u back imo rhe common dish if you have smelled 1r yourselr If
Nothing is s<1id <lgainst rouching tht meat on one's own plate with the hands . orcu ' . ' . . . 1 k ."
vou rake meat from a common dish, do nor choose rhe besr pieces Cm w1rh r 1e one.
And rhe "bad manners" tliar are mentioned have largely disappeared from rhe liolding srill rhe piece of mear in rhe dish wirh rhe _fork. which you will use w pm on
upper class. 'ie pi'ece iou have cm off do nor, rheretore, rake rht meat WJ(h 1our hand
vour p 1a re ( 1 , ' l . cl]
The Ci6/ite of 1 (Example lJ is a little book of forry-eight pagts in bad (norhing is said here againsr rouching rhe mtar on ones place wnh rhe un
ciz'ilite type, primed in Caen bm undattd. The British Museum carnlogut has a You should nor rhrow bones or eggshells or rhe sk111 ot any frun omo rhe floor
qutstion mark after the date. In any cast, chis book is an example of the The same is rrue of fruit srones Ir is more police ro remow chem from the momh
multirude of cheap books or pamphltts on ciz'i!iti that were disseminated wirh rwo fingers rhan ro spic chem imo one's hand
throughout France in rhe eightetmh century. This one, ro judge from ics general
attitude, was cltarly intended for provincial rown-dwelltrs, In no other J
eighteenrh-cenrury work on ciri!ite quoted here are bodily functions discussed so
openly The standard the book poinrs to recalls in many respects d1t one that From La Salle, Les Reg/es de /11 hiwse1111cc et de /11 ciz'i/iti dm!tiem1e (Rauen, 1729),
Erasmus's De cirilitc1/i: had marked for rht upper class. Ir is still a matter of course
p. 87:
to rake food in the hands. This example seemed useful htre ro compltmenr tht
ocher quoracions, and particularly ro remind the reader chat tht movement ought
Oil Thing.< trt B, U.<ul at T:1b/,
ro be seen in its full multilayered polyphony, not as a line bur as a kind of fugut Ar wblt vou should use a servierre, a place, a knife, a spoon and a fork. Ir would be
wich a succession of related movemem-motifs on different levels. emirelv ro propriery ro be wirhom any of chest rhings while
Example M from 1786 shows the dissemination from above to below vtry Ir is- for the person of highest rank in rhe company to unfold his serv1erre firsr. and
direcdy Ir is particularly revtaling because it contains a largt number of cusroms rhe ochers should wair umil he has done so before unfolding theirs \vhe_n rhe_ people
that have substquendy been adopctd by "civilized society" as a wholt, bur are are approximately equal, all should unfold ir rngerher wirhom [N.B \V'irh rhe
here clearly visible as specific cusroms of the courtly upper class which still stem "democrarizarion" of sociery and rhe family, chis becomes rhe rule The socwl srrucwre,
cl l - most elemenrarv, human
here srill of rhe hierarch1Cal-ansrncrm1c type, is m1rrore 111 r le
relatively alitn to rhe bourgtoisie. Many customs have bten arrested, as "civilized
cusroms", in txactly che form rhey havt htrt as courtly manntrs relarionships.] _
Ir is improper w use rhe servierre ro wipe your t:ace; ir is f.ar more so ro your
The quotation from 1859 (Example N) is meant to rtmind rhe rtader that in
reerh with ir, and ir would be one of rhe grossest ottences aga111sr CJnliry ro use ir ro
the ninetetnrh century, as roday, the whole movtmem had alrtady been tntirt!y
82 TIJt P1r1cess CAmges i11 the Behal'iom rj" the Sem/,1r UPJ!tl' Classes i11 thr: \Vt.rt 83

blow your nose The use you may and must make of the serviette when at rnble is _. nt with what be savs in another place: "If your fingers are greasy ere
com1sre , . . . . _
fi:ir wiping your mumh. lips. dnd iingers ,,hen they cire greasy, wiping tht knife before . 1 robibirion is nor yer remotely so selt-ev1dent as it is roday. \Ve see how
T 11e I - l"
cmting bread. and cleaning the spoon and fork after using them. [N B This is one of . , ll\' it was made into an internalized habit, a piece ot se1t-contro
n-rad ua . .
many examples of the extraordinarih exact regulation of behaviour which is embedded "' In the critical period at the end of the reign of Louis XV-during which, as
in our eating habits. The use of each mensil is limited and defined by a multiplicity
l \\n as an ounvard si b"n of social changes that were occurring
the pressure
of very precise rules. None of them is simply sdf-evidem. as they appear to later r t- rn1 urew stronuer and in which among other thrngs, the idea of
ror re o o b ' ' ._
t:enerations Their use is formed ,ery gradually in conjunction with the strucrnre and 1zati.on" caught on-La Salle's Ciz'i!iti!, which had previously passed through
changes of human relationships.] "nv1 1,
several editions largely unchanged, was revised . The changes in the standard are
\Vhen the lingers are very greasy. wipe them tirst on a piece of bread. which should
verv instructive (Example K, below). They were in some respects very cons1der-
then be left on the plate, before cleaning them on rht sen-iette, in order not to soil it
The difference is partly discernible in what no longer needed ro be said.
roo much
\Vhen the spoon, fork and knife are dirty or greasy, it is very improper to lick them, Many chapters are shorter. Many "bad manners" earlier discussed in derail are
and iris not at all decent ro wipe them. or anything else. on the tablecloth. On these mentioned only briefly and in passing" The same applies ro many bodily
and similar occasions you should use the serviette. and regarding the tablecloth you tlmcrions originally dealt with at length and in great derail. The rone is
should rake care to keep it always very clean, and not to drop on it water, wine. or "enerally less mild, and ofren incomparably harsher than in the first version.
b -
anything that might soil it.
\Vhen the plate is dirty. you should be sure not to scrape it with the spoon or fork
rn clean it, or rn clean your plate or the bottom of any dish with your lingers: that is
nry impolite Either they should not be rouchecl or. if you have the opporrnnity of 1774
exchanging them, you should ask for another From La Salle, Les Ri:g!es tie la hieJ1si1111ce et tie lei ,-iz:i!ite chritien11e (177 4 edn),
\Vhen at cable you should not keep the knife ahrnys in your hand: it is sufficient to pp. 45ff:
pick it up when you wish to use it
It is also n:ry impolite to pur a piece of bread into your mouth while holding the The serviette which is placed on the plate. being intended to preserYe clothing from
knife in your hand: it is eYen more so to do this wirh the point of the knife, The same spots and other soiling inseparable from meals. should be spread over you so far that
thing must be observed in eating apples. pears or some other fruits. [N.B Examples of it covers rhe front of your body to the knees, going under the collar and not berng
taboos relating ro kniws J passed inside it.. The spoon, fork and knife should always be placed on the right
It is against propriety rn hold the fork or spoon with the whole hand, like a stick: - The spoon is intended for liquids, and the fork for solid meats.
you should al ways hold them between your fingers \Vhen one or the mher is dirty. they can be cleaned with the serviette. if another
You should not use ) fork tu lift liquids to the mouth it is rhe Sl'UOn that is sef\ice cannot be procured. You should avoid wiping them with the tablecloth. which
intended for such uses, is an unpardonable impropriety,
Ir is polite always to use the fork to pur meat into your momh, for Jm1j>rid1 d11<J 11M \Vhen the plate is dirty you should ask for another; it would be revoltingly gross to
/h:rmi: the 1{ grulS) 11 irh th, [Amhor's emphasis]. neither sauces clean spoon. fork or knife with the fingers
nor syrups: and if ari)-one did so. he could not escape subsequently commiting seYeral At good tables. attenrive servants change plates withom being called upon
further incivilities. such as frequently wiping his lingers on his serviette, which ,,ould No;hing is more improper than rn lick your lingers. to much the meats and pm
make it Yery dirty. or on his bread. which would be ,ery impolite. or licking his them into your mourh with your hand, to stir sauce with your lingers. or ro clip bread
lingers. which is not permitted to well-born. relined people inro it with vour fork and then suck it
You should never rake salt with your lingers I[ is very common for children to !'ile
pieces one on top of the other, and even to rake our of their mourhs something they
This whole passage, like several others, 1s taken over from A de Counin's have chewed, and flick pieces with their fingers. [All these were mentioned earlier as
Not11'r:1111 traitr! of 1672: cf Example G, p. 75 Ir also reappears in other general misclemeanours. but are here mentioned only as the "bad" manners of children
eighteenth-cenrnry works on cirilitr!. The reason given for the prohibition on Grown-ups no longer do such things.] Nothing is more impolite [than] ro lift meat rn
eating with the fingers is particularly instructive . In Courtin, roo, it applies in rour nose to smell it; rn let others smell it is a further impoliteness towards the master
the first place only ro greasy foods, especially those in sauces, since this gives rise the rnble: if you should happen rn find dirt in the food. you should get rid of the
ro actions that are "'distasteful" ro behold. In La Salle this is nor entirelr food wirhour showing it
84 The Cfrili:::ing Pmeess Ch,mge.r in the Beht1riu1/I' of the Sem!m Uj1j1er Clmses in the West 85

L "\Yell, you cerrninly did nor drink it like anyone else Ereryone drinks coffee from
1780? rhe cup. never from rhe saucer
From an anonymous work, La Cizilifl; ho11ete j1011r lu wfc111ts (Caen, n.d.), p . 35:
Afrerwards. he shall place his servierre on him. his bread on rhe lefr and his knife on 1859
rhe righr. ro cur rhe mear wirhour breaking ir. [The sequence described here is found From The Habits of Good S11eiety (London, 1859; 2d edn, verbarim, 1889), p. 257:
in many orher documents. The mosr elemenrnry procedure. earlier usual among rhe
Forks were undoubredly a larer invenrion rhan lingers. bur as we are nor c1111nih11/s I am
upper class as well, is ro break up rhe mear wirh rhe hands. Here rhe nexr srage is
inclined ro rhink rhey were a good one
descnbecl, when rhe meat is cur with rhe knife. The use of rhe fork is nor mentioned.
To break off pieces of mear is regarded here as a mark of the peasanr, curring ir as
clearly rhe manners of the rown] He will also rake care nor ro pur his knife inro his Comments on the Quotations on Table Manners
mourh. He should nor leave his hands on his plare nor rest his elbow on ir, for rhis
is done only by rhe aged and infirm Grol!/J L
The well-behaved child will be the lasr ro help himself if he is wirh his superiors.
next, if ir is mear, he will cur ir polirely wirh his knife and ear ir wirh his bread. An Overview of the Societies to which the Texts were Addressed
Ir is a rusric. dirty habir ro rake chewed meat from rnur mouth and pur ir on rnur
plare. Nor should you ever put back inro rhe dish somerhing you have raken from it. 1. The quorarions have been assembled co illusrrare a real process. a change in
rhe behaviour of people. In general, rhe examples have been so selecred char rhey
M may srand as typical of ar lease certain social groups or srrara. No single person,
1786 nor even someone with such pronounced individualiry as Erasmus, invented rhe
sal'uir-l'izn of his rime.
From a conversarion berween the poer Delille and Abbe Casson: ic
\'Ve hear people from different periods speaking on roughly rhe same subjecr.
In rhis way, rhe changes become more disrincr than if we had described chem in
A shorr while ago Abbt Cusson. Professor of Belles Lerrres ar rhe Collet.:e Mazarin. role!
our own words. From ar least rhe sixreenth century onwards, rhe commands and
me abour a dinner he had arrended a few days previously wirh some /1,o/1/e at
Versailles . prohibirions by which individuals were shaped (in conformiry with the srandard
''I'll wager". l role! him. "rhar you perperrared a hundred incongruities " of sociery) were in continuous movemenc This movement, co be sure, was nor
"\\ihar do you mean)" Abbe Cosson asked quickly. greatly perrurbed "] believe ] perfecdy unilinear, bur through all irs flucruarions and individual curves a
did e,eryrhing in rhe same way as everyone else .... detinire overall rrend is nevertheless perceptible if one lisrens ro these voices over
"\\!hat presumprion' J'll ber you did nothing in the same wav as anvone else. Bur rhe centuries rogerher.
l'll limir myself ro rhe dinner. Firsr. whar did you do wirh your when vou sat Sixteenth-cenrnry wrirings on manners were embodiments of the new court
ariscocracy rhar was slowly coalescing from elements of diverse social origin.
"\\iirh my servierre; l did rhe same as e\tryone tlse. I unfolded ir, spread ir our, and Wirh ir grew rhe distinguishing code of behaviour
fixed ir by a corner ro my burronhole . "
De Courtin, in rhe second half of the seventeenth century, spoke from a court
"\\fell. my dear fellow, you are rhe only one who did rhar. One does nor spread our
society which was consolidared to rhe highesr degree-the court sociery of Louis
one's servierre. one ketps it on one's kntes. And how did you ear your soup;"
XIV And he spoke primarily to people of rank, people who did nor live direcdy
"Likt evtryone else. l rhink. I rook my spoon in one hand and mv fork in rhe
or her ar courr bur who wished to familiarize rhemselves wich the manners and customs
"Your fork; Good heavens! No one uses his fork ro ear soup Bur rel! me how of rhe court.
you are your bread." He says in his foreword: "This treatise is not intended for priming bur only ro
"Cerrainly. likt everyone else: I cur ir nearly wirh mv knife " sarisf-y a provincial gendeman who had requesred the author, as a particular
"Oh clear. you break bread, you do nor cur i,r Ler.'s go on. The coffee-how did friend, ro give some preceprs on civility to his son, whom he intended to send to
you drink irY rhe court on completing his studies. He [the author} undertook this work
"Like everyone. ro be sure Ir was boiling hot. sol poured ir lirrle by lirrle from my only for well-bred people; it is 011/y to them that it is addressed; and parricularly to
cup inro my saucer.
youths, who mighr derive some uriliry from rhese small pieces of advice, as not
86 Th, Cfri!i::i11g P111c.:ss

t!l't!J!1l!t ht!S tht uo .er class as a purely secular and social phenomenon. a consequence of cerrain
f'oints pr1!ite11ess of social life, have affiniries wirh parricular rendencies in uadirional
People who lived in rhe example-serring circle did nm need books in order to ecclesiasrical behaviour. Cfri!it( was given " new Chrisrian religious foundarion
know how "one" behaved. This was obvious: ir was rhtrtfore imporranr to The Church prowd, as so often, one of rhe mosr important organs of rhe
ascerrain wirh whar intentions and for which publics chest preceprs, originally downwards diffusion of behavioural models.
rhe disringuishing secrer of rhe narrow circles of rhe courr aristocracv, "Ir is a surprising rhing", says rhe venerable Farber La Salle ar rhe beginning of
wrirrtn and primed . rhe preface w his rules of Chrisrian ciz'i!itf, "char rhe majori ry of Chrisrians regard
The intended public is quire clear. Ir was srressed char rhe advice was onlv for decency and civiliry only as a /1mdr h1111i.111 ,111d ur;r/c/!r (ji!cdity and, nor chinking
h1J/lnttcrgws, i.e . , by and large for upper-class people. Primarih rhe book rhe to elevare their minds more highly, do nor consider it a virtue related to God,
nted of rht provincial nobiliry w know abour behaviour ar and in addirion our neighbour and ourselves. This well shows how lirtle Chrisrianiry there is in
char of disringuishtd foreigners Bur ir may be assumed char rhe nor inconsider- rhe world " And as a good deal of rhe educarion in France lay in the hands of
able success of chis book resulred, among ocher rhings, from rhe imeresr of ecclesiasrical bodies. ir was above all. if nor exclusively, rhrough rheir mediarion
leading bourgeois srrara. There is ample evidence w show char in chis period tbar a growing flood of ciz'i!itf rracrs now inundared the counrry. They were used
customs, behaviour and fashions from rhe courr were continuously penerraring as manuals in rhe elementary educarion of children, and were often printed and
rhe upper middle classes, where rhey were imirared and more or less alrered in disrribured togerher wirh rhe firsr instructions on reading and wriring.
accordance wirh rhe differenr social sirnarion. Thev rhereb,- lose to some exrenr Particularly rhrough rhis rhe concepr of ciz'i!ire was increasingly devalued for
rheir characrer as means of disringuishing rhe upr;er class. The\'. were somewha; rhe social elire. Ir began to undergo a process similar ro thar which earlier
devalued. This compelled chose above ro furrher refinement elaborarion of overrook rhe concepr of co11rtoisic.
behaviour And from chis mechanism-rhe development of courr cusrnms, rheir
disseminarion downwards. rheir slighr social deformarion, rheir dernluarion as Excursus on the Rise and Decline of the
marks of disrinction-rhe perpetual movement in behaviour parrerns Concepts of Co1!ltoisie and Cil'iliti!
the upper class received part of its momentum. \Vhat is important was that 'in
this change. in the inventions and fashions of courtlv behaviour, which are at first _) Co111"!11isi, originally referred to rhe forms of behaviour char developed ar rhe
sight perhaps irregular and accidental, over extended rime spans certain direc- courrs of rhe grear feudal lords. Even during rhe ivfiddle Ages rhe meaning of rhe
rions or lines of development emerge. These include. for example, whar mav be word clearly lose much of irs original social resrricrion ro rhe "courr'', coming
described as an adrnnce in the rhreshold of repugnance and rhe frontier of imo use in bourgeois circles as well. \Virh rhe slow exrincrion of the knighdy-
or as a process of "refinement" or "civilizarion" A parricular social dvnamism feudal warrior nobiliry and rhe formarion of a new absolure courr aristocracy in
rriggered a parricular psychological one, which had irs own regulariri;s. rhe course of rhe sixreemh and seventeenth centuries, the concepr of cil'i!itf was
. L In rhe eighreenth century wealrh increased, and with ir pressure slowly elevarecl as rhe expression of socially acceprnble behaviour . Co!!i'toisie and
ot rhe bourgeois classes. The courr circle now included, directlv alongside cizi!ite exisrecl side by side during rhe French rransirional sociery of rhe sixteenth
arisrncraric elements; a larger number of bourgeois elements rl1an in' rhe century, wirh irs half knightly-feudal, half absolure courr characrer. In rhe course
preceding cenrury, wirhour rhe differences in social rank e\er being lose Shordy ot rhe sevenreenrh century. however, the conctpr of courtoisi, gradually wenr our
before rhe French Revolmion rhe self-isolaring tendencies of rhe socially of fashion in France
weakening aristocracy were intensified once more. 'The words comtois and 1w1rtoisic", says a French \vrirer in 1675,'' "are
Neverrheless, chis extended courr sociery, in which arisrncraric and bourgeois beginning ro age and are no longer good usage. \Ve say cil'i!, bu1111estc; ciz'i!itf,
elements intermingled, and which had no disrinct boundaries barring entry from hoilllt.:Std{.,
below musr be envisaged as a whole. Ir comprised rhe hierarchicallv strucmred Indeed, rhe word co11rtuisie now acrnally came w appear a bourgeois concept
elire of rhe country. The compulsion to penerrare or ar lease w ir became "My neighbour, rhe Bourgeois, says, following rhe language of rhe bourgeoi-
srronger and srronger wirh rht growing interdependence and prosperiry of sie of Paris affable' and 'courteous' (m11rtois) he does nor express himself
broader srrata. Clerical circles, above all, became popularizers of rhe courrh polirely because rhe words 'courreous' and affable' are scarcely in use among
customs . The moderared resrraint of rhe emorions and rhe disciplined shaping ;f people of rhe world, and rhe words 'civil' and 'decent' (ho1111ete) have taken rheir
behaviour as a whole. which under rhe name of ciz'i!itf had been developed in rhe place. jusr as 'civiliry and 'decency' haw raken rht place of 'courresy and
88 The Cizili::i11g Process Changes in thr: Beht11-io111 of the Semlar Uj1jJ1:r Classes in the \Vest 89

'affabilicy' " So we read in a conversacion with che title 011 Goud {ll/d Bad Usaae sociecy, civilizacion appeared as a firm possession, They wished above all co
i11 L\jmssi11g 011uelj.: 011 Bof!l;t;.:uis Mmmers of Sp<aki11g, bv F. de Callieres ( 1694 disseminate ir, and ac mosc co develop ic within che framework of che standard
pp. l lOffJ . ,
already reached.
In a very similar way in che course of rhe eighreenrh century, che concept of
The examples guoced clearly express the movement cowards chis srandard in
ciz'iliti slowly lost irs hold among rhe upper class of rhe absolutist court. This class
rhe preceding scage of the absolute courts,
was now for ics part undergoing a fairly slow process of cransformacion, of bour-
geoisificacion, which, ac lease up co 1750, went hand in hand with a simultaneous
courcizacion of bourgeois elements. Something of che resulrant problem is
A Review of the Curve Marking the "Civilizing" of Earing Habits
percepcible, for example, when in 17-[5 Abbe Gedoyn, in an essay "De l'urbauice
romaine" Wu1zr1:s dinnes, p . 17 ."\), discusses che quescion of whr, in his own
.t Ac che end of che eighceenth cencury, shortly before che Revolution, che
sociecy, che expression 11rht111iti, chough ic referred co someching fine, had French upper class attained approximately che standard of earing manners, and
never come into use as much as cil'i!it{, h11111a11iti, politesse or gt1la11terie, and he cercainly noc only of eacing manners, char was gradually ro be taken for granted
replies: "Urha11itas signified chac politesse of language, mind, and manners in rhe whole of civilized society.. Example M from che year 1786 is inscrucrive
acrached singularly to che city of Rome, which was called par excellence Urhs, rhe enough: ic shows as still a decidedly courtly cusrom exactly the same use of che
city, whereas among us, where this policeness is nor che privilege of any city in serviecce which in che meantime has become cuscomary in che whole of civilized
particular, not even of che capical. buc solely of che court, che rerm urbanicy bourgeois sociecy.. Ir sho\YS che exclusion of the fork from the eacing of soup, che
becomes a cerm . wirh which we may dispense." need for which, cercainly, is only undersrandable if we recall rhac soup often used
If one realizes chat "city" ac this rime referred more or less ro "bourgeois good ro contain-and in France scill contains-more solid content than it does now.
society" as against che narrower court society, one readily perceives rhe copical Ir furcher shows as a courcly demand che requirement nor co cue but co break
importance of rhe quescion raised here one's bread ar table, a requirement char has in che meantime been clemocracized.
In most of the scacemems from chis period, rhe use of ciziliti had receded, as And che same applies ro che way in which one drinks coftee.
here, in rhe face of politesse, and che idemificacion of chis whole complex of ideas These are a few examples of how our everyday ricual was formed . If chis series
wich h11111cmfri had emerged more sharply.
were continued up co the present day. further changes of derail would be seen:
As early as 17 ."\.),Voltaire, in che dedicacion of his Zc1ii'e co a bourgeois, A . .l\L new imperacives have been added, old ones are relaxed; a wealch of nacional and
Faulkner, an English merchant, expressed these tendencies very clearlr: "Since
social variations on table manners has emerged; che penerracion of rhe middle
che regency of Anne of Austria che French have been che mosc and che
classes, rhe working class, the peasantry by che uniform ritual of civilization, and
mosc police people in che world . and this J10/ite11w is 11ot in the letut rll! arhitrarr
by che regulation of drives chac ics acquisition requires, is of varying screngch
111atte1: like that uhich is frdled civilice, !J!!t is r1 l:rn rf ;uti!r, which rhev
happily culcivaced more than ocher peoples.... . Bur che essential basis of what is required and whac is forbidden in civilized
sociecy-che standard technique of earing, the manner of using knife, fork,
Like che concept of l'IJ!tr!oisie earlier, cil'iliti was now slowlv be<,inninu
b b
ro sink "
Shorcly afterwards, the content of chis and related cerms was raken up and spoon, place, serviette and other earing urensils-rhese remain in their essential
extended in a new concepc, che expression of a new form of self-consciousness feacures unchanged. Even che development of technology in all areas--even char
che concept of cil'ilisation. Co1trtoisit, r'il'ilit{ and r'iz'ilisatio11 mark chree srar;es of cooking-chrough che introduccion of new sources of energy has left the
social development . They indicace which sociecy is speaking and being addressed techniques of earing and ocher forms of behaviour essentially unchanged. Only
ac a given rime, However, the actual change in che behaviour of che upper classes, on very close inspeccion does one observe craces of a trend chat is continuing co
rhe development of che models of behaviour which would henceforth be called occur.
"civilized", rook place-ac lease so far as iris visible in che areas discussed here- \Vhac is scill changing now is, above all, che cechnology of production. The
in che middle phase. The concepc of cil'ilisatio11 indicates quire clearly in ics technology of consumption was developed and kepc in morion by social
nineteenth-century usage rhac che Jnucess of civilization-or, more scricclv formacions which were, to a degree never since equalled, consumption classes
speaking, a phase of chis process-had been completed and forgorcen. People on!;, \\!ich their social decline, che rapid and intensive elaboration of consumption
wanted co accomplish chis process for ocher nacions, and also, for a period, for che techniques ceased and has been relegated into what have now become the private
lower classes of cheir own sociecy. To che upper and middle classes of their own (in contrasc ro che occupational) sphere of life. Correspondingly, che tempo of
90 Tht Cil'ilizi11g Pmass i11 zLn Bth111'io!!r of the S,mfar UjJ/>tr C!as.w:s i11 th, Wi:st 91

movement and ch<mge in [htse spheres which was relarivt!y fas[ during rhe srage \\' l1ar
eoiJle acrnalh. achie,e and !Jroduce has become more imporranr rhan rheir
of rhe absolure cour[s. has slowed down once again. manners.
Even rhe shape of ta[ing mtnsils-plmes, dishes, kni,es. forks and spoons- 6. Taken togerher. [ht examples show very clearly how chis movemem
has from now on become no more [ban varia[ions on [hemes of [ht dix-hiliti:me adV<inced. The prohibitions of mediernl society, even ar rhe feudal couns did nor
. nipose anr verr grear resrraint on rhe plav of emorions. Compared wirh lacer
and preceding cenwries. Cerrainly rhere are srill very many changes of derniL \'t"L 1 . L

Ont example is rhe differentiarion of mensils. On many occasions. nor only are era. s. soci1l
' comrol was mild. Manners. measured ai::ains[
._ larer ones, were relaxed
rhe places changed afrer each course bm rhe earing mensils. mo. Ir is nor enough in all senses of rhe word. One oughr nor ro snore or smack one's lips while ea[ing
rn ear simply wirh knife. fork and spoon ins[ead of wirh one's hands . In rhe upper One oughr nor ro spic across rhe cable or blow one's nose on rhe rablecloth (for
class more and more, a special implement is used for each kind of food . Soup- this was used for wiping greasy fingers) or into th<: fingers (wirh which one held
[he common dish) Earing from rhe same dish or plare as ochers \V<lS taken for
spoons, fish kni,es, and mear knives are on one side of rhe place. Forks for rhe
"ranted. One had only ro refrain from falling on rhe dish like a pig. and from
hors d'oeuvre, fish and meat on che O[her. Above the plare are fork, spoon or
knife-according rn the cusrnm of [he country-for sweer foods. And for rhe dipping binen friod inro rhe communal sauce.
j\fony of rhese cusroms are still memioned in Erasmus's rrearise and in its
desserr and fruir yer another implement is brought in. All rhese mensils are
adapration by Calviac. More clearly rhan by inspecting panicular accounts of
differently shaped and equipped . They are now larger, now smaller, now more
conremporary manners, by sur\'eying rhe whole movement one sees how i[
round. now more pointed. Bur on closer consideration they do nor represent
advanced Tablt mensils were srill limired; on rhe lefr the bread. on rhe righr rhe
anything acwally new. They. too, are variations on rhe same theme, differ-
glass and knife. Thar was all. The fork was already memioned, alrhough with a
entiations within rhe same standard. And only on a few poinrs-abon: all, in rhe
limi[ed funcrion as an insrrumem for lifting food from [ht common dish . And.
use of rhe knife--clo slow movemems begin to show rhemselws rhat lead beyond
like che handkerchief. rhe napkin had also appeared already. borh S[ill-a symbol
rhe srnndard already arrained. Later rhere will be more rn say on this
of [ransicion-as oprional rarher rhan necessary implements: if you have a
5. In a sense. somerhing similar was rrue of rhe period up to rhe fifreemh
handkerchief. the preceprs say. use it rarher rhan your fingers If a napkin is
cemury. Up to rhen-for very different reasons-rhe standard earing technique,
pro\'ided. lay ir over your lefr shoulder One hundred and fifry years lacer borh
rhe basic srnck of whar was socially prohibited and permirred. like rhe behaviour napkin and handkerchief had. like rbe fork. become more or less indispensable
of people towards one another and cowards rhemselvts (of which these prohibi-
mensils in the courdy class.
rions and commands are expressions), remained fairly consranr in irs essemial The curve followed by O[ber habirs and cusroms was similar. Firsr [ht soup
fearnres, even if here roo fashions, flucwarions, regional and social variations and was ofren drunk. whether from rhe common dish or from ladles used by several
a slow movement in a parricular direcrion were by no means entirely absem. people In rhe cr111rtois writings rhe use of rhe spoon was prescribed. Ir, roo, would
Nor can rhe cransicions from one phase ro anorher be ascerrained wirh firsr of all have sern:d several rogerher. A fur[her seep is shown by rhe quorarion
complere precision . The more rapid movemem begins lacer here. earlier there. from Calviac of 1560 He memions that i[ was cusromary among Germans ro
and everywhere one finds slighr preparatory shifrs. Neverrheless, rhe overall allow each guesr his own spoon. The next step is shown by Courrin's rex[ from
shape of rhe cuf\"e v,ras everywhere broadly rhe same: firsr rhe medieval phase, [ht vear 167..2. Now one no longer are the soup direcdy from rhe common dish,
wirh a cerrain climax in rhe flowering of knighrly-courrly sociery, marked by bur .poured some imo one's own plate. first of all using one's own spoon; bm
earing with rhe hands. Then l phase of relariwly rapid movemenr and change. [here were even people. we read here. who were so dtficate diar [hey did nor wish
embracing roughly rhe six[eenrh, seventeenth and eiglHeenrh centuries, in which w ear from a dish inro which others had dipped an already used spoon. Ir was
rhe compulsions ro elabornre earing behaviour pressed consrantly in one direc- [herefore necessary ro wipe one's spoon wirh rhe servierre before: dipping ir into
rion, towards a new standard of cable manners. [he dish. And some people were no[ sarisfied even with this. For chem, one was
From rhen on, one again observes a phase which remained wi[hin rhe frame- no[ allowed ro dip a used spoon back into rhe common dish ar all; insread, one
work of rhe standud already reached, rhough wirh a \'try slow movement in a had to ask for a clean one for chis purpose.
parricular direcrion. The elaboration of everyday condu([ ne\'tr emirely lost. in Srnrements like rhese show nor only how rhe whole rinial of living toged1er
this period eirher, irs imporrance as an insrrumem of social dis[incrion Bur from was in flux, bur also how people [hemselves were aware of chis change.
now on, ir no longer played the same role as in the preceding phase More Here. seep by srep. rhe now <lccepred way of raking soup was being
exclusively rhan before. money has become rhe basis of social differences. And established: evervone had rheir own pla[e and own spoon. and rhe soup was
Thr: Cirilizinr, Proc<:Ss Chmgc.r in the Bthtnio11r of tl.n Swdar Upper Clmsts in the \Vest 93

disrribured wirh a specialized implemenr. Earing had acquired a new sryle "You know", we read in a lirde work which in irs rime was much read, 1\lots
corresponding ro rhe new necessiries of social lift br Callieres, in the edirion of 1693 (p. -i6J, "rhar rhe bourgeois speak
! Tl,,,,
,;1 l
Norhing in rable manners is self-evidem or rhe produce, as ir were, of a verv differendy from us . "
"narural" feeling of delicacy. The spoon, fork and napkin were nor invenred one If we examine more closely whar is rermecl "bourgeois" speech, and whar is
clay by a single individual as rechnical implemenrs wirh obvious purposes and referred ro as the expression of rhe courdy upper class, we encounrer the same
clear clirecrions for use. Over cenruries, in clirecr social inrercourse and use, rheir phenomenon rhar can be observed in eating-cusroms and manners in general:
funcrions became gradually defined, rheir forms soughr and consolidared. Each much of whar rn the sevemeenrh and ro some exrenr rhe e1ghreenrh cemury was
cusrom in rhe changing rirnal, however minure, was esrablishecl infinirelv slowly disringuishing form of expression and language of court sociery gradually
e,en forms of behaviour rhar ro us seem quire elemcnrary or simply became rhc French narional language.
such as rhe cusrom of raking liquid only wirh rhe spoon. bery movemem of rbe The voung son of bourgeois parenrs, .M. Thibaulr, is presenred ro us visiring
hand-for example, rhe way in which one holds and moves knife, spoon or -mall.arisrocraric
r' .!!arherin,!!.
._, '-- The laclv
of rhe house asks after his farheL "He is
fork-was srandardized only srep by srep. And rhe social mechanism of vour very humble servanr, Madame", Thibault answers, "and he is srill poorly, as
srnndardizarion can irself be seen in outline if rbe series of images is surveytd as well know, since you have graciously senr ofrenrimes ro inquire abour rhe
a whole. There was a more or less limirecl courtly circle which firsr scamped the ;rare of his healrh."
models only for the needs of its own social siwarion and in conformity wirh the The siruarion is clear. A cerrain social conracr exisrs berween rhe arisrocraric
psychological condition corresponding ro ir.. Bur clearly rhe srn;crure and circle and tht bourgeois family. The lady of the house has menriontd it
development of French sociery as a whole gradually made ever broader strata previously. She also says rhar the elder Thibaulr is a very nice man, nor wirhour
willing and anxious ro aclopr the models developed above rhem: rhey spread, adding rhar such acquainrances are somerimes quire useful ro rhe arisrocracy
likewise very gradually, rhroughour rhe whole of socierv, cerrainlv nor wirhom because rhese people, after all, have money.'' And ar rhis poinr one is reminded
undergoing some modification in rhe process. . . of rht very differenr srrucrure of German sociery.
The rakeover, rhe passage of models from one social unir ro anorher, now from Bur social conracrs ar rhis rime were clearly nor close enough, leaving aside
the cenrres of a society ro its ourposrs (e.g., from rhe Parisian courr ro orher the bourgeois inrelligenrsia, ro have effaced rhe linguistic differences berween rhe
courrs), now wirbin rhe same socio-polirical unit (e.g . , wirhin France or Saxony, classes Every orher word rhe young Thibaulr urrered was, by rhe sranclards of
from above ro below or from below ro above), is to be coumed, in rhe civilizin.g court sociery, awkward and gross, smelling-as the courtiers pur ir-"bourgeois
process as a whole, as among the mosr imporranr individual movemems. from rhe mourh". In courr society one did not say as you well know" or
rhe examples show is only a limired segmenr of rhese . Nor only rhe earing "ofrenrimes" or "poorly" (co111il/e hi1:11 S{dl'tZ. Jo111wtes fois. mcdadij).
manners bur also forms of chinking or speaking, in sborr, of beha,iour in One did nor say, like M. Thibaulr in rhe ensuing conversation, "Je vous
general. were moulded in a similar way rhroughour France, even if rhere were demancle excuse" II beg ro be excused). In rhe courr sociery one said, as rnday in
significanr differences in rhe riming and srrucrure of rheir parrerns of develop- bourgeois sociery, "Je vous clemancle pardon" iI beg your pardon)
menr The elaborarion of a parricular rimal of human relarions in rhe course of 11. Thibault said: "Un mien ami, un mien parenr, un mien cousin" (A friend
a change in social and psychological srrucrures is nor somerhing rhar can be of mine, ere.), insread of rhe courtly "un de mes amis. un de mes parenrs" (p. 20)
rreared in isolation, even if here, as a firsr arrempr, ir has only been possible ro He said .. deffuncr mon pere, le paune deffuncr" (deceased) And he was
follow a single srrand. A shorr example from rhe process of rhe "civilizing" of insrrucred rhar rhar roo was nor one of the expressions "which civiliry has
speech may serve as a reminder rhar rhe observarion of manners and rheir introduced among well-spoken people. People of the world do nor say char a man
rransformarion exposes ro view only a very simple and easily accessible segmenr is deceased when rhey mean rhar he is dead" (p. 22). The word can be used ar
of a much more far-reaching process of social change. mosr when saying "we musr pray ro Goel for rhe soul of the deceased . bur
rhose who speak well say rarher: my !are farher, the !are Mr such and such, the
Excursus on the .Modelling of Speech at Court lare Duke, ere." (!t11 111011 jli:rt, ere.). And ir was poinred our thar "for rhe poor
deceased" was "a very bourgeois rum of phrase ..
7. For speech, mo, a limirecl circle firsr developed cerrnin srandards. 8 . Here, roo, as wirh manners, rhere was a kind of double movemem: a
As in Germany, though ro a far lesser exrenr, rhe language spoken rn court courrizarion of bourgeois people and a bourgeoisification of courdy people. Or, ro
sociery was differem from rhe language spoken by the bourgeoisie put ir more precisely bourgeois people were influenced by the behaviour of
P;-r;(r:SS 95

courdy ptople. and Yict Ytrsa. Tht influence from below on those abon: was r\ "because ir is modelled on from rht Ch,1mber at Spever"
bt exe n11)l '1 . , , .
certainly ,-ery much we<tktr in the St\"tnteenth century in France than in the 't ,,_,- 1s rhe uni,ersities chat atramed almost rhe samt imporrnnce tor
l i ' , ,
eighteenth. But it was not tntirel> absent: tht ch[1teau Vaux-le Vicomte of the Gern11111 Clil(Llre '-
rnd lan<'LI<l"e
'=' <::-
as rhe court 111 France. Bue these rwo socialh
bourgeois intendant of finances. Nicolas Fouquet. antedates the royal Versailles, , [ r ,l- te'l tntiries . Chancellery. and universitv.
c!OS<'. ] c 1 ,
influenced sptech less
and was in many ways its model That is a clear example. The wealth of leading , - rht\'. formed tht German wrintn language
wnnng, ...
not through conversar10n bm

bourgeois strata compelled those above to compete. And the incessant influx of uments lercers and books And if Nietzsche obserYts th<H tYtn the
t l1roug 11 Cloc ' , . .
bourgeois people to the circle of the court also produced a specific mmement in . clrinkin" song is erudite. or if he contrasted che elimination or specialise
Germ,1 11 c ,
speech: \Yith the new human material it brought new linguistic material. the . ..,. . Lw tht courtly Voltaire rn the pracrice of rhe Germans, ht saw very clearly
tef,JIS .
"slang" of rhe bourgeoisie. into the circle of the court. Elements of it were: rhe reoults of these different bistonc,1l developments
constantly being processed into courtly language. polished. relined. transformed; to. If m France the g"i' cf, /.1 u1111' s,ud This is spoktn \\ell and rh1s b,1dly,
they were made. in a word. "courtly". i.e .. adapted to the srnnd,1rd of sensibility ;i question is raised that opens up a wide fit!cl for reflection ,rnd which must be
or affect of the court circles. They were thereby rnrnecl into means of distinguish- at !t<1sr touched on here in passing: "By what srnndards were rhty acmally
ing the gws ck !t1 cW!I from the bourgeoisie. and then perhaps-thus refined and d"in"
JU c- t:-
was b"oocl and bad in '- c...-
\\/hat were their criteria tor
modified-after some rime penetrated the bourgeoisie once more and became selecring. polishing and modifying expressions'"
"specifically bourgeois" Sometimes rhey reflected on chis themselves. \\ihat they said on the subject is
There is. says tht Duke in one of tht conYtrsations c1uoted from CalliC:rts (Du at firsr sighr rarher surprising, and ar any rate significanr beyond rht area of.
hoi! d dit 11h!11rais 11sagc, p. 98). a manner of speaking "most common among the Phrases. words and nuances were good hc(dl!Sc rhey, the members of rhe
bourgeois of Paris and even among some courtiers raised among the bourgeoisie. social used chem; and rhey were bad hccdi!Sr social inferiors spoke in chis
Ir is to sc1y 'Lee us look and ste' (m)!lllS z-r1ir), insread of saying 'Let us see (rfJyrl/Js), war
and aniiding rhe word 'look. which is perfectly useless and diS<1greeable in this Thibault sometimes defends himself when he is role! thar this or thar rum
place. .;:;f phrase was bad. "I am much obliged w you. i\fadame. ht says (Du ho11 er
But chere has rtcemly come into use. rhe Duke cominues. "another bad mm l' 2)). "for the trouble you are caking w instruct me, yet ir seems
il!:lil!',tis 11sagc.

of phrase:. which began among the lowesr people and made irs fortune ar the w me that the term 'dtceased' is a well-esrnblishecl word used by a great manv
courr, like those fayouri res without meri c who gor thernsel ves elevated there in well-bred people (ho1111i:tc gws)."
the old clays . It is 'il en sc,;ait bien long', meaning that someone is subtle and "Ir is \'try possible". the Ltdy answers, "that there are many well-bred people
cleYer.. The ladies of the courr are beginning to use it, rno ... who are insufficiently famib1r with the delicacy of our language a delicacy
So ir wem on. The bourgeois and even some court people said "il faut que nous which is known rn only a small number of well-spoktn people and causes them
foisions cela" instead of "il faur que nous fassions cela". Some said "l on za" and nm w sa\ chat a man is dectased in order tO say that ht is dead ...
"lon zesr" insread of rhe courtly "l'on ,1 .. and 'Ton tsc" They said "Je le L1i" A smail circle of people were versed in this delicacy of language: rn speak .is
instead of 'Jt L1i" the1 did was w speak correctly. \\/hat the ochers said did nor count. The
In almosr all these casts the linguisric form which here appears as courtly has were apoclictic A reason ocher than that "\\le. the elire. speak rhus.
in fact become the narional usage. Bur there were also examples of courdy and onh wt haYe sensirivitl' rn languagt" was ntithtr netded nor known. "\Vich
linguistic formations bting gradually discarded as "rno refintd". "too afftcred". regard errors committtd. againsr good usage". it is exprtssly srartcl in another
9 All chis elucidates at rhe same rime whar was said earlier abour rhe pl:Kt. as rhere are no definite rules it depends only on the consent of a certain
sociogenetic differences between the German and French national characrers. number of elite people whose ears are accustomed to cerrain ways of speaking and
Language is one of the rnosr accessible manifestations of what we experience as rn preferring chem to or hers" (p 98) And rhen the words were listed char should
national character" Hert one can see from a single concrete example how this be avoided
peculiar and rypical characrer has been elaborated in conjunction with specific Amiqumed words were unsuired rn ordinary. serious speech. Very new words
social formations Tht French language was decisively scamped by the court and must arouse the suspicion of afftcrntion or posing-we might perhaps say, of
courr sociery. For rhe German hrnguage the Imperial Chamber and Ch<rnctllery snobben- Learned words that smack of Latin and Greek must be suspecr to all
for a time played a similar role. eYen if they did not have remotely the same gt11.r d11, 11111//ck. They surrounded anyone using chem wirh an atmosphere of
influence as the French court. As late as 16-L'i. someone claimed his language rn pedantry. if other words were known chat expressed the same thing simply.
Chm1gu in tht Bt!Jt!l'iom of the Stml{/r Uf'l1tr Classes in the West 97
96 The Cirili:ing PmceJs

Low words used by the common people must be carefully avoided. for those attached rhemseln:s to these older. distinguishing tendencies in their Ian-
who used chem showed char the\ had had <l "low education .... And it is of these guage,
words. rhar is. low words", said d1t courtly speaker, .. that we are speaking in this
connecrion-he meant in the contraposirion of courtly and bourgeois language. Reasons Given by People for Distinguishing
The reason given for the expurgation of "bad .. words from language w<1s the Between .. Good" and 'Bad" Behaviour
refinement of feeling that has played no small role in the whole civilizing
l l. Language is one of rhe embodiments of social or mental life. Much rhar
process. Bur this refinement was the possession of a relatively small group Either
can be observed in rhe way language is moulded also becomes evident through
one had this sensitivity or one had nor-that. roughly. was the speaker's atrirnde.
the j 11 ,c:srigacion of other embodiments of society. For example, the grounds on
The people who possessed this delicacy. a small circle. determined by their
which people argue chat this behaviour or chat custom at rable is better than
consensus what was held ro be good or bad.
In ocher words. of all rhe rational grounds char might be put forward for the ano [ller, 1re
' scarcelv. disrin"uishable
from rhe wa,; rhev. establish such claims
with regard w linguistic expressions.
selection of expressions, the social argument. char something was better because
This does nor entirely correspond w the expecrarion that twentieth-century
it was the usage of the upper class, or even of only an elite within the upper class,
observers may have For example, they expect ro find the elimination of .. earing
was by far the most prominent.
with rhe hands", the introduction of rhe fork, individual cutlery and crockery,
"Antiquated words". words rhar had gone our of fashion, were used by rhe
an<l all rhe other ri rnals of their own standard explained on "hygienic grounds"
older generation or by those \vho were not permanently involved direcdy in For chat is the way in which rhey themselves in general explain these customs.
court lift, rhe declasse ... Too new words" were used by the clique of young people Bur as late as rhe second half of the eighteenth century, hardly anything of this
who had yet ro be accepted. who spoke their special .. slang'', a part of which kind is found as a motivation for rhe greater restraint that people impose upon
would perhaps be romorrows fashion 'Learned words" were used. as in themselves. Ar any rare, the so-called "rational explanations" are very far in the
Germany, by those educated ar rhe universities, especially lawyers and rhe higher background compared to ochers.
admir::.;rrarors, i . e., in France, the nr1hhsSt de roht .. Low expressions .. were all In rhe earliest srages the need for restraint was usually explained by saying: Do
chose words used by tbt bourgeoisie clown ro rht common people. Tht linguistic rhis and not char, for it is nor co11rtois, not "courtly"; a 'noble" man does nor do
polemic corresponded ro a quire specific, very characrerisric social formation. Ir such things. Ar most, rhe reason given is consideration for the embarrassment of
showed and delimited rht group which ar <l given moment exerted control over ochers, as in Tannhausers Hofzmht, where it says, in effect, .. Do nor scratch
language: in a broader sense they were the gws de la CUl!I', bur in a narrower sense vourself with your hand, with which you also hold rhe common dish; your rnble
they were a smaller, especially arisrocraric circle of people who at the rime had might notice ir, so use your coat to scratch yourself (Example A,
influence at court, and who carefully distinguished themselves from the social v. 109ff). And clearly here the threshold of repugnance differed from that of rhe
climbtrs, tht courtitrs with a bourgeois upbringing, the "antiquated .. and the following period.
"young people .. , and from the .. snobbish" competitors of the rising genernrion, Later on, a similar rationale was used above all: Do nor do char, for it is not
and last but nor )east, from the specialized officials who came from the 'ciz'i/" or "hiwsea11t". Or such an argument was used to esrnblish the respect due
university. This circle was the primary model-making centre for rht language at ro those of higher social rank
this time. How the members of these narrower and broader court circles spoke As in rhe moulding of speech, so roo in the moulding of other aspects of
was "how one must speak ... ro speak c1J11m1t ii Here rhe models of speech behaviour in society, social motivations, adaprarions of behaviour to the models
were formed chat subsequently spread our in longer or shorter waves . The of influential circles, were by far the most important. Even the expressions used
manner in which the language developed and was stamped corresponded to a in motivating "good behaviour" at cable were very frequently exactly d1e same as
specific social srrucrnre . Accordingly. from the mid-eighteenth cenmry onwards, those used in motivating 'good speech".
bourgeois influences on the French language slowly gained in strength. Bur chis In Callieres's D11 hon et d11 111m1mis 11se1ge daw !es 111a11ieres de s'e.\j1rimer, reference
long passage through a stage dominated by the court aristocracy remains is made, for example, ro chis or char expression "which civility bas introduced
perceptible in the French language roclay, as does the passage of German through among people who speak well" (p . 22).
a stage of dominance by a learned miclclle-class intelligentsia . And wherever Exactly rhe same concept of cii'i!itrf is also used again and again by Courrin or
elites or pseudo-elites have formed within French bourgeois society, they have La Salle to express what was good and bad in manners. And just as Callieres here
98 in th, B1:hdzjo11r of the Sem!ar UJ>jier Classes i11 the \Vi:st 99

spoke simply of rht people jiarlulf /;ju/', so Courrin (ar rhe end of Example ,, cl Lw clear undtrsranding But "r,uional understanding" is not the mowr of
nrlTlt - _ - -b l
G) said, in efftcc "Formerly ont was allowed rn do rhis or rhar, bm wday one is " .11 12 1nu" ot eating or of other wavs of e iavlllg
he en "' - - . .
no longer allowed w Callii::res says in 1694 [hat [htre art a grtat many people r The close parallel berween tht "civilizing" of taring and char .of speech is ll1
who art not sufficitnr!I' conversam with tht tf,:/icatc.r."' of our language: "('est . _ "[ hi<hlv insrructivt. Jr makes it clear char the chani.;e in beha\'lour at
this reoptL "' . _ . _ _ .' .
Ct[[t cltlica[tsse qui n'est connu qut d'unt petitt nombrt cit gens ... Courrin used , , .. c ,ur of a much laruer transtormat10n of human feelings and a[[Jtuclts.
rir"'re \\(1-' 11- o
the same expression in 1672 when he said [hat i[ was necessary always to wipe 'u '11Lin11' natts the cleuret w which the motors of chis developmtnr came
Ir a1so i ' c
one's spoon before clipping it into [ht common dish if one had already used i[, - lie soci1l
srructure.. from the wav, in which people' \Vtre related
w or
.. [here being people so dc/i(({ft [hat [hey would not wish w ea[ soup in which you te e! wirh t'lch other \\it see mort clearlv how relatlvelv small Circles a[
integra '
had clipped ir afrc:r pm[ing i[ inro your momh" (Example G). first formed rht cenrrc of the movemenr and how_ rhe process then y
This clilict1tts.r<. [his sensibili[y and a highly de\tloped feeling for what was assed rn broader srrarn. Bur this diffusion irselt presupposed very specific
"embarrassing". was ar firs[ a dis[inguishing fearnre of small courdy circles, then and rherefort a quirt definite structure of society. .l\.foreo\'er, ir _could
cerrninly nor ha\'e raktn place had there not been established: not only tor the
of court socit[)' as a whole. This applies w language in exacdy tht same way as
model-forming circles but also for broader strata, conditions of life-or, in ocher
w ta[ing habirs . On wh<H chis delicacy was based. and why it demanded chat rhis
words, a social situation-chat made bo[h possible and necessary a gradual_
bt done and nor chat, was no[ said and nor ,1skecL \Vhar can be observed is
[ransformation of the emotions and behaviour, an advance in the threshold of
simply char "delicacy"-or, rather, rhe threshold of repugnance-was advancing.
Jn conjunction with a quite specific social situation, the structure of feelings and repugnance.
The process [har emerges resembles in form-though nor in subsrance-rhose
affects was firsr transformed in the upper class, and the structure of society as a
chemical processes in which a liquid. the whole of which is subjected w
whole permi[[tcl this changed afftct-srandard w spread slowly There is norhing
conditions of chemical change (t . g .. crysrallizarion). first rakes on crysralline
which suggesrs char rhe srructure of affects. the degree of sensitivity. changed for
form at a small nucleus. while the rest then gradually crystallizes around this
reasons chat wt would describe as "clearly rarional". i . t. from a demonstrable
core. Nothing would be more erroneous than w rake the core of tht crysralliza-
undtrsranding of specific causal connections . Courtin did not say, as would bt
rion for [he cause of tht transformation.
said lacer. thar some people felr it to bt "unhygienic" or "derrimenral rn healrh"
The fact char a particular social stratum in one or another pluse of social
w rnkt soup from [ht s<'mt dish as ochers. Ir is, of course, the case char delicacy developmenr formed the cemrt of a process and thus elaborated models for
of fteling was heightened under rht pressure of rht courdy situarion in ways
ochers. and chat these models were diffused w other strata and received by them,
which were later jusrifitd pardy by scientific invesrigarions, even though a major itself presupposed a social sicuation and a parricular structure of society as a
part of [ht raboos that people gradually imposed on themselves in their dealings whole, b\ virtut of which rhe function of creating models fell ro one circle and
wirh each ocher, a far larger 1x1rt rhan is usually rhoughr, has nor rhe slightest that of and assimihning them fell w ano[htr. The kinds of changes in
conntcrion wi[h "hygiene .. but is concerned even wclay mtrtly wirh "delicacy of 't e intt"rarion of socitt\' rh,1t set these behavioural changes in morion will be
t1 b ._,
feeling" Ar any rate. rhe process has moved in some rtspecrs in a way chat is discussed in greater derail later.
exactly opposirt rn, whar is commonly assumed today. Firsr, over a long period
and in conjunction with a specific c!Mngt in human relationships. chat is in Gro11ji 2.
sociery, [ht threshold of repugnance was raised The affecr-srrucrure. the
sensirivity, and [ht behaviour of people change, dtspi[t all sorts of fluctuations, On the Eating of Meat
in a qui[e specific direction. Then, at a ctrrain poinr, this behaviour came w be
recognized as "hygienically correct", i.e" ir was jusrifitd by a clearer insight into l Alrhough human phenomena-wherher attitudes. wishes or structures-
causal conntcrions and raktn further in tht same direction or consolidated. The ma\' be looked at on their own, independently of their connections with rhe
advance of the threshold of repugnance may have been connected ar specific social life of people, they art by nature norhing but subsranrializarions of human
poinrs wi[h more or less inclttermimut and. at first, in no way rationally relations and of hum<m beha\'iour, emboclimenrs of social and mtnral life. This is
explicable experiences of the way in which certain diseases are passed on or, true of speech, which is nothing other than human relations mrned inro sound;
expressed more precisely. with indeterminate and therefore rationally unlimired it is [rut of art. science, economics and politics; it is true both of phenomena
fears and anxieties which pointed vaguely in rhe direction subsequtndy con- which rank high on our scale of values and of others which seem trivial or
100 The Cil'ilizing PmctJJ 101

worthless. Bur iris ofttn precisely these latter, apparently trivial phenomena that ,. h.' 5p 1ces pl1ved
' a ma1or.. ve"erables
a relarivelv' minor role . Orher informa-
giw us clear and simple insighrs inro the structure and development of the ns nrs fairlv unanimoush in rhe same direction. The derails remain to be
non poi
psyche and irs relations which are at first denied us by rhe former. People's
reseed furrber. . . .
attitudes co meat-earing. for example. are highly illuminating with regard ro the ? Another change can bt documented more precisely.. The manner rn which
dynamics of human relationships and personality structures. - is
srved has changed considerabh. from rhe Middle Ages co modern rimes.
meat e ' .
In rhe Middle Ages, people moved between at least three different secs of e of chis change is verv instructive. In rhe upper class of medieval
T1tI cu f\ . _
behaviour cowards rhe consumption of mear.. Here, as with a hundred other . che de1d animal or large pares or ir were often brought ro the cable
soc1er}, ' ' . . . .
phenomena, we see rhe extreme diversity of behav10ur characteristic of medieval l N'or onlv whole fish and whole birds (someumes w1rh their feathers) bur
'"hoe. .
society as compared with its modern counterpart.. The medieval social structure whole rabbits, lambs, and quarters of veal appeared 01 .rhe table, nor ro
was far less conducive ro rhe slow permeation of models developed in a specific mention che larger venison or rhe spic-roasted pigs and oxen.'s
social cemre through rhe society as a whole. Certain modes of behaviour often The animal was carved on rhe cable. This is why rhe books on manners repeat,
predominated in a particular social stratum rhroughour rhe \X'esrern world, up co rhe seventeenth and sometimes even the eighteenth how impor-
while in a different srramm or estate behaviour was very different. For this rant 1 c s
1 for a
well-bred man to be buood at carnng meat. D1scenda a pnm1s
reason, rhe behavioural differences between different estates in the same region srarim annis secandi ratio " (The correct way to carve should be caught from
were often greater than those between regionally separate representatives of the rhe first years) says Erasmus in 15 30
same social stratum . And if modes of behaviour passed from one stratum co "When serving," says Courrin in 16 I 2,
another, as happened again and again, they changed their face more radically in
correspondence with the greater self-comainment of rhe estates. one mus! always givt away !he btsl ponion and keep !he smallest. and wuch nmhing
The relation ro meat-earing moved in the medieval world between the excepl with !he fork; rhis is why, if a person of rank asks you for somerhing du! is in
following poles In rhe secular upper class rhe consumption of meat was from of vou. il is imponam rn know how ro cm meal wirh propriery and merhoJ, and
rn kno\\.' !he best ponions. in order rn be able rn serve !htm with civility
extraordinarily high, compared ro rhe standard of our own rimes. A tendency
The wav rn CLI! !hem is no! prescribed here. because i! is a subjec! on which special
prevailed rhen ro devour quantities of meat char ro us seem fantastic. In the
books been wrinen. in which all die pieces are illusrra!ed ro show where the meal
monasteries an ascetic abstention from all meat-earing in part prevailed, an mus! firs! be held wirh a fork rn cm il. for as we have jus! said. th, 11!11 mm! ih'!'<:i /;,
absemion resulting more or less from self-denial, not from shortage, and often 1oud1,J hi h:111d 111Jt dd! zchj/, nJting: !hen where !he knife must be plaet:d w cm ic
accompanied by a radical disdain for or restriction of earing. From these circles whal mus! be lifted tirsl whac is the bes! piece. and the piece of honour dial must
came expressions of strong aversion ro rhe "glurrony" among rhe secular upper- be served ro the person of highesl rank. I! is easy w learn how rn carve when one has
classes. ea!tn !hree or four limes ac a good cable. and for !he same reason il is no dis,t;race rn
The mear consumption of the lower class, rhe peasams, was also often excuse oneself and leave rn another what one cannot do oneself.
extremely limited-nor from a spiritual need, a more or less freely chosen
renunciation with regard co God and rhe next world, bur from shortage. Cattle And rhe German parallel, rhe i\tzc n:n11ehrtts Trincier-Biich!ti11 (New, enlarged
were expensive and therefore destined, for a long period, essentially for rhe rulers' carving manual), primed in Rinrelen in 1650. says:
rabies. "If the peasant reared cattle'', it has been said,'< "it was largely for rhe
Because !he office of carver al princely courls is no! reckoned as !he lowesl bm among
privileged, the nobility, and rhe burghers'', nor forgening rhe clerics, who ranged
rhe mos! honourable, !he same mus! d1erefore be eilher of !he nobilily or mher good
in varying degrees from asceticism ro approximately rhe behaviour of the secular
descem. of straighl and well-proponioned body. good sm1ight arms and nimble hands
upper class . Exact data on rhe meat consumption of rhe upper classes in the
In all public cmting he should absrnin from large mlwemems and useless and
Middle Ages and at the beginning of the modem age are sparse. There were, no foolish ceremonies and make quilt sure dial he is no! nervous, so th.11 h, d'd not
doubt, considerable differences between rhe lesser, poorer knights and the great hring dishm1011 r throNgh 1,.,.111h/i11g of th< and hrmds and because in any case !his does
feudal lords.. The standards of the poor knights must frequently have been nm befit !hose ac princely rnbles
scarcely removed from chose of the peasants
A calculation of the meat consumption of a north German court from Boch carving and distributing rhe meat were parricular honours. Ir usually fell
relatively recent rimes, the seventeenth century, indicates a consumption of rwo co rhe master of rhe house or ro distinguished guests whom he requested to
pounds per head per day, in addition co large quantities of venison, birds and perform rhe office. "The young and chose of lower rank should nor interfere in
l ()',
. .1 _ 5,J; , 1iol!r rf tht 5,mf,11
C,)dlf,(,C.\ Ill ii. 1r; '"' - - -
l 02
. on rhe continent, rht serving of large_ portions of
serving. DU[ only rake for d1emsclves in their turn." says the anonymous Ci1iliti ryrominendy. presened. vhich falls w rbe master of rhe house. ot u1rvll1g and
ofl 7 l5. ' - r (and with ir rht ras , \ - . l .. - - r" w 1 ure1rer extent rhan in rht
rne:i - irvives in rhe lorm ot r lt JOll1 ' " ' c. - dnr
In the sevtmeemh cemurv [ht G1n-ing of mta[ at t<ible gradually ceased, in .i1srribur1ng it) SL
u _ .-G l F i -- '-Ici\vtver , c1uire apan twm
m anc wrct:. r .
rhe ,acr
_ -
the French upper class. w be an indispensable accomplishmem of [ht man of the ban sooery or erma . - I . l form of rhe sernng ot large pieces
ur' cl _ - - r i irselt a verr recucec L l . I,
world. such <ls hunting, fencing. and dancing. The passage quo[ed from Courtin he 11reser1L- - a) JOifl , l c. - rn it dnr mark rbe ac nrnct ll1 r it
r ben he..: ot reacnons ' c l
r n1e1r chert 1
poims rn [his l<lS e ' - - -. , I' ri!i<t at rhe cables o1 gooc
or ' Tl . cl 1 non ot rurrm c ' -- . -
.'.\. That the serving of large parts of the animal rn be carved a[ rnblt gradually rbreshold of repugn,rnct l1\ a acted in chis direction. "Our. cb1et
wem out of use was connected with many fr,crors. Ont of [ht most important about rhe m1clcllt ..o r ie ' E 1 l .book on manners. The Hahit.1 r1 Goud
_,v . . . , n1 sa vs an _, n g is 1 . .
may be the gradual reduction in the size of the household'" as pan of the d1<1nks w die new s1src: - . - . . __ c_ ,, bar unwielch barbarism-the JOll1t
_9) .. due tor 1rs osrr,1c1s!l10 r -
1 1iouse- ..
mmemem from larger to smaller family uni[s; then comes d1t removal of Socit!) (l8) ... . . . look tlegam. while it hides rbe mas_rer ot ne
produetion and processing activities like weaving, spinning and slaugh[tring Nothing can m<1ke d 101m . ' f .. ,- " The rrurh is. 1bc1t m1lc.u r1111
' I" him imo rhe misery o can lflo tu
from the household. and [heir gradual transference to specialis[S, craftsmen, -JIid cone emns . I - It 11 - '///!(h !iltclf JI
' it.1 ,,'itli) ir -
merchams and manufacturers, who practice them professionally while the rll't l'ti) kw1. t )t s1:,) ' ' . - l l -cl ro disgust rhe epicure H
. l. l " "oinr tS!JeClally is c,1 cu are , .-11 !
anc ,1 1Llot I
household becomes essentially a consumption uniL ,_
tue111 '
-11t1rdJ. - l _ l l l be \)\aced on rl1e sic - le- r1ble
ll'hn th11 u' it
, -' -
. - are eaten at rill. t lt) s iou c
Hert, rno, the psychological tendency marches rhe overall social process: today 101nrs _
J[ would arouse rather uneasy feelings in many people if [hey or ochers had ro ni!I of <p _'> 1-JJ l . ro remove rbe disr<1sreful from rht sight ot
- .
The wcreas1ng .
- \\- suong renc encv
' . , . in" of cbe who 1t arnm<l l
carve half a rnlf or pig ar rnble or cut me<lt from a pht<lsam still adorned with its \' with few tXCtpt!OflS. tO ( 1l t can b - - 1-t- -
fear hers societY clearly app ies. c erlv a direct part ol sooal l t rn
_ \ .. les show was ,orm . .
This c<1rvmg, as r ie exam J 1 , . \- r- nd mort rn be cl1srasrdu 1.
Thtrt art e\en du gti/J ..-i dJ/i,t1ts-w repeat the phrase of Counin. which r1 I t S\Jecocle was te c mor- a 1
referred w a rtl<1recl process-w whom rht sight of burchers shops \\irh rhe rhe upper class ien n ' - - l . m1l must. of course. be cur w ien
. - d'd cl s- 1 ne1r since r le arn ' - . . .-
11( t6 rcel!tS of sr1ocd 1!ft.
bodies of dead animals is disrasreful, and ochers who from more or less rationally C1rYin" irsell l nor I 'p,.. '
" <::- 1 fu\ W'lS rt:Jl/Ol'U ( I-' idJ/1. .1 l -

disguised feelings of disgust refuse to tar meat alwgerher. Bm chest are forward beinl'. earen. Bur rhe c israsre ' I k' tchen Ir will be seen <1gain and
' k f r in rht shop or r it 1 - - l
rhrusrs in rht threshold of repugnance char go beyond rhe standard of civilized Specialists ra e cart o i - . l .. . dnt we call civilizrH10n is t 11s
- . ot rhe who e process '
society in rhe rwenrierh cenrnry. and <ire therefore considered "abnormal". al'.ain how cbaracrensnc - . . "b I . cl he scenes of what has become
' - w . n dus h1dmg e llfl r - - l
Nt\errhtless. it cannot be ignored char it was advances of chis kind (if rhey movemem of segrec-'HJO . - \ _- of 1 hrue IJ<lrt ot rbt an1ma or
<r from t 1e caf\'1ng o _
coincided with rhe direction of social devtlopmem in general) char led in rhe disrasrefuL The curve runnrn" l I 1- adnnct in [ht threshold ol
. . I at cable. c1roug1 c1e ' -1--ct
past w changes of srnnclards, and chat chis particular advance in rht threshold of even rht who le ,1n1ma l -- l of can-im; ro speu izc
-, . l i "hr of dead animals. to r ie rem CJ\ a '
repugnance is proceeding in the same direction rha[ has been followed drns repugnance at r lt s b - . I . --1 .. - n-curn:.
- l I . nts is a np1ca cn l izcitlO - - 1
fi1r. enclaves bthrnc r ie see . . - 1 r nrocesses underlie s1m1 ar
_ b - ,. i ued bow tar s1m1 a r
Ir remarns ro e lfl\estg, -_- -.. - ofChina above all.die
This direction is quire clear. From a srnndard of feeling by which the sight and _ - - I rhe older cl\ i1iz.irwn '
carving of a dead animal on rhe rnble are acrnally experriencecl as pleasurable. or phenomena Jl1 ocher soCJetltS. n -- . T red much earlier ,mcl more
. . ,. ' behind rhe scenes \\as er ec - l
ar lt<lS[ as nor at all unpltasam. die devtlopmtm !tads w anod1tr srandarcl by concealmem ol can mg . .. , b- raken so lar rh<lt r ie
. :<1 Tl rhe process came w e _
which reminders char the meat dish has something to do \\irh rhe killing of an radicalh- rhan rn rhe \ c:sr. 1ere - 1 rnd rhe knife is banished
- . ir\'td -rnd cur up emirely bel11nd r 1e scenes. '
animal art anJidcd to rht utmost. In many of our meat dishes rht animal form n1eat is G '
alrngerher from use at cable.
is so concealed <lflcl changed by the an of irs preparation and carving char, while
earing. one is scarcely reminded of irs origin. Use of rhe Knife ar Table
1r remains rn be shown how ptople, in rhe course of rhe ci\ilizing process,
have sought rn suppress in rhemsehes everyrhing char rhey feel w be of an
l narure o_
. I use,
soCia . re. tlecrs cli-rn t- .rs
, b"ts in rhe human -
"animalic character" They hme likewise suppressed such ck1racrerisrics in rheir
-! The knife, too, by tit cl .- I Ir is an embodimem of
-I . I n"in" dnves an \vis ies
food personality win its c i.i "' . "' rnnl reuulariries of society -
In chis area. mo, rht development has cerrninly nor been uniform everywhere. hisrnrical sirnaoons and the srruc _' - "' - - . s m e1tin'' implemem in
. b , . ll s charricrensr1c ot its use a ' ' o
In England. for tx<1mple. where in many aspects of life older forms are more One dung a O\ t '1 1
The Ci1,i/i;:,i11g ProtcsJ Chtmgf.i in the Behe1rir111r r;( the Swtft1r Upper C!t1sses i11 the \\'!ist 105

presenr-day \i(/esrern sociery: rhe innumerable prohibirions and raboos surround- .h of socierv ro rhe preponderance of feelings of displeasure <lt the sight
paCI canon ., . . . . . .
1ng H . cl ro rhe limirarion and hnal exclusion of irs use rn soC!ery. The mere
at 1c. ,rn . .
Cerrainly rhe knife is a dangerous insuumenr in what may be called a rational . f knife poinred ar rhe face arouses fear: "Bear nor your knife roward your
sighr o a .. . . . . . . c
sense. Ir is a weapon of arrack. Ir in fliers wounds and ems up animals rhar have c ce for therein is peril and much dread. Il11s is rhe emor10nal basis 01 rhe
been killed ;O\\:erful raboo of a larer phase. which forbids the lifring of the knife ro the
Bur this obviously dangerous quality is beset with affects. The knife becomes mourh. . . . .
a symbol of rhe mosr diverse feelings, \Vhich are connecrecl w irs funnion and The case is similar with rhe prohibition which rn our senes of exa:nples was
shape but are nor deduced "logically" from irs purpose. The fear ir awakens goes eel first bv Calviac in 1560 (at the encl of Example EJ: If you pass
rnenr10n .. . .. . .
beyond whar is rarional and is gremer rhan rhe "calculable", probable danger. 'nife rake rhe point in vour hand and ofter him the handle. lor ir
someone a "' ' .
And die same is rrue of the pleasure irs use and appearance arouse, even if rhis oulcl nor be polite ro do otherwise
aspecr is less evident roclay In keeping wirh rhe srrucrure of our sociery, the \\' Here. as so ofren unril rhe larer stage when the child is given a "rarional"
everyday rirual of irs use is wday determined more by the displeasure and fear explanarion for every prohibition, no reason w.'.1s given for the social rirual except
rhan by the pleasure surrounding ir.. Therefore its use even while eating is t!Hir "ir would nor be polite ro do otherwise Bur ir is nor cl1fficulr see th_e
restricted by a mulrirucle of prohibitions . These, we have said, extend far beyond emorID nal n erninu
1 ' o
of rhis command
one should not move the poinr of rhe knife
rhe "purely insrrumenral"; bur for every one of them a rational explanation, rowarcls someone as in an atracL The mere symbolic meaning of this act, the
usually \ague and nor easily proved, is in everyone's mourh. Only when rhese memorv of rhe warlike threat, is unpleasanr Here, roo, rhe knife rirual con rained
raboos are considered rogerher does the supposition arise rhar rhe social arrirucle a elemenr Someone mighr use the passing of rhe knife in order suddenly
rowarcls the knife and rhe rules governing irs use while eating-and, above all, ro srab someone Bur a social rirual was formed from rhis danger because rhe_
rhe raboos surrounding ir-are primarily emorional in narure. fe,1r, clisrasre, dangerous gesrure esrablished itself on an emotional level as a gen.era! source of
guilr, associarions and emotions of the mosr disparate kinds exaggerare rhe displeasure. a symbol of death and clanger. Sociery, which was begmnrng ar rhis
probable danger. Ir is precisely this which anchors such prohibitions so firmly rime more and more ro limir the real dangers rhrearening people, and conse-
<llld deeply in rhe personaliry and which gives rhem their raboo character uenrlv ro remodel the affecrive life of individuals, increasingly placed a barrier
5 In rhe Middle Ages. wirh their upper class of warriors and rhe consranr rhe svmbols as well, the gesrures and insrrumenrs of clanger. Thus rhe
readiness of people ro fight, and in keeping wirh rhe stage of affecr conrrol and resrricrions a.nd prohibitions on the use of the knife increased. along wirh the
the relariwly low degree of binding or regularion imposed on drives, die resrrainrs imposed on individuals.
prohibitions concerning knives were correspondingly few. "Do nor clean your 6. If we leave aside rhe derails of rhis developmenr and only consider rhe result,
reerh with your knife" was a frequenr demand. This was rhe chief prohibirion, rhe prtsenr form of rhe knife riruaL we find an <lsronishing abundance of of
bur ir does indicare rhe direction of furure resrricrions on rhe implement. varying severity. The imperarivt never ro pur a knife ro one's mourh is one of rhe
Moreover. rhe knife was by far rhe most imporranr earing urensil. Thar ir would gravest and besr known. Thar ir gready exaggerares rht <KrnaL probable danger
be lifted ro rhe mouth was raken for granrecl. ;carcelv needs robe said; for social groups accusromed to using knives and earing
Bur there are indirnrions in rhe late Middle Ages, even more clirecr ones rhan with t.hem hardlv ever injure their mourhs wirh chem The prohibition has
in any larer period, thar rhe camion required in using a knife resulrs nor only become a means social distincrion In rhe uneasy feeling rhar comes over us ar
from rhe rarional consideration rhar one mighr cur or harm oneself, bur above all cbe mere sighr of someone purring a knife inro rhe mourh, all this is presenr
from rhe emorion aroused by rhe sighr or rhe idea of a knife poinrecl ar one's own once: the general fear rhar the dangerous symbol arouses, and the more specihc
face. fear of social degradation which parenrs and eclucarors have from early on
awakened in us in relation ro rhis practice with their admonirions rhar "it is nor
Bere nor your knyf ro warde your ,isage
for rherein is parelle and mykyl drede
Bur rhere are orher prohibitions surrounding rhe knife that have little or
we read in Caxron's Bod? of C11rteJ)e (v .28) Here, as e\erywhere larer, an element norhing ro do with a direct clanger to rhe body, and which seem ro poinr .ro
of rationally calculable danger \vas indeed presenr, and rhe warning refers ro this. svmbolic values of rhe knife other than the associacion with war. The fairly srr1ct
Bur ir is rhe general memory of and association wirh clearh and danger, ir is rhe on earing fish wirh a knife-circumvenrecl and modified roclay by rhe
s;111b()/ic meaning of rhe insrrumenr rhar leads, with rhe advancing inrernal inrroducrion of a special fish knife-seems ar firsr sighr rather obscure in irs
Ch:f//gcs ii! rht Bch.!i io111 o/ the Seci!lar Upper Clas.rts iii dn ff[st

instrument became
incl nrohibirions which surround the menacing
emo[ional [hough psychoanaly[ical dieory poims a[ leas[ in [he ornn1ancIs ' ,. . . of rhe threatening
c - - numerous and difterenriated. Finally. the use
direction ot an explana[ion There is a well-known prohibi[ion on holdiw, ever rnore . . . .
cudtry. parcicularly kni\'es, widi die whole hand. "like a S[ick", as Li Salle _ bc,l ha> been limJtecl as tar <lS possible _ . . . . . .
s:rn or a\ciiJ comiYirin" rhe direction of rb1s cJ\1lizmg-cune with rhe
J[, diough ht was a[ dia[ [ime referring only w fork and spoon (Example j). Then One cann ' "' . .. .
II'' practised in China There. as has been said, rhe kmte disappeared
diere is_ ob\'10usly a general [tndency rn elimina[e or a[ leas[ res[rin the comact of cusrorn_ . "'
I .
ies auo from use at cable. Accordmg ro rhe teelmgs ot many Cl1111ese.
the knife_ with round or egg-shaped ob jeers. The best-known and one of the rnany centur b . .. . . . .. .. .
which EuroiJeans ear 1s unonlized The Europeans ,ire
grl\est ot such prohibicions is on cutting porarnes with a knife. Bur the rather rhe manner 111 . .. .
. . fJtOfJle sa\" rhere now and again. "they t<lt w1rh swords One ma}
less srricr prohib_itio_n on cutting dumplings with a knife or opening boiled eggs b,.lfl,lDS , . .'- _ . . . . ..
. I . r chis custom is connected with the fact that for a long ume m Chma
with one also pornr 111 the same direction, and occasionally, in especiallv sensiti\'e surrn1se t 1'l . . _ .
i1- 111 ,, Ll!'l'er class was nor <l warnor class bur a class ot scholad}
circles. one finds a nondency rn aYoid cuning apples or even oranges a knife. cl l
rbe mo e - ' " b n1

"I may him diar no epicure eYer yet put knife rn apple. and that an orange should officials pacified to a particularly high degree.
be peeled with a spoon". says The Hahits u/ Good Sucittr of 1859 and 1890.
But these more or less scrict panicular the list of which could On the Use of the Fork at Table
cerwinly be extended, are in a sense only examples of a general line of
S. \\/hat is rhe real use of the fork; Ir ser\'eS ro lift food char has been _cut up
developmem in the use of the knife chat is fairly distinct. There is a tendency
'v'h\ do we need i fork for chis; \\/hv do we nor use our hngers'.
that has slowly permeated ciYilized society. with pressure from the top to the ro r Iie mou tll . w ' -
Beoiuse it is "cannibal'". as rbe "Man in the Club-\\/indow". rhe .. anonymous
bottom. rn resrricr the use of rhe knife (within the framework of prernilin"
y/_J HJir o/-G11ocl Socii:!J said in 1859. \Vhv is it "cannibal ro ear with
techniques of earing) and where\'er possible not ro use rhe instrumem at ;ill. b aut l1or o t t ' 1- _
j - - .
one's fingers;, Thar is nor a question; it is self-evidently rnnnibal. barbanc,
This tendency made i[s first appearance in a precept as apparemlv triYial and
obvious ;is that quoted in Example I: "Do nor keep your knife in rour unciYilized or whate\'er else it is called . _ .
Bur char is precisely rhe question. \\/hy is it more ci,ilized to ear wJth a _tork!
hand. as village people do. bur rake ir only when you need ir." Ir was c,learh ,verv
"Because it is unhygienic to ear with one's fingers." Thar sounds conv111c1ng.
strong in the middle of rhe last century. when rht English book on ju;t
To our sensibility it is unhygienic if different people put their fingers into the
quoted, Th2 1-fohit.r o/ Goi,c/ 51id). said: "Let me give you a rule-everything char
same dish. because rhere is ,1 danger of conmicring disease through contact w1rh
can be cur wid10ur a knife, should be cur with fork alone." And one need onlv
observe present-clay usage ro find chis tendency confirmed This is one of rhe others. Each of us seems ro fear char the ochers are diseased _
Bur chis explanation is nor entirely satisfactory. Nowadays we do not ear from
distinct cases of a de\'elopmenr which is beginning ro go beyond rhe standard of
common dishes Enryone puts fC1od into their mouth from their own place. To
earing technique and rirual attained by court society. Bur chis is not. of course.
pick it up from one's own pla[t with one's fingers cannot be:. more unhygienic...
in tht le,1sr. rn S<ty that the "civilization" of die \Vest will acrualh continue in
than w put cake, bread. chocolate or anything else mro ones mouth w1tli ones
this direction. Ir is a beginning, a possibility like many others char .exist in eYerv
society All the same. it is nor inconceivable that rhe preparation of food in own fingers
So whv does one really need a forki \\/by is it "barbaric' and "unciYilized" to
kitchen will dtYelop_ in a direction char restricts rhe use of the knife at cable still
pm food-into one's mouth by hand from one's own plarei BeG1use it clisrasr:ful
further. displacing it eYen more than hitherto to specialized enclaYtS behind rhe
w direr one's fingers. or at lease ro be seen in society with dirty hngers. The
of earing by hand from one's own plate has very little to do w_irb the
Strong regressiYe moYemenrs are certainly nor inconceivable either. Ir is
danuer of illness. rhe so-called ''rational" explanation. In observmg our feelmgs
sufficiently well known rhm. for example, rhe conditions of life in \Vorlcl \Var I
row:rcls rhe fork ritual. we can see with particular clarity rhar the first authority
auromarically enforced a breakdown of some of the taboos of peacetime civiliza-
in our decision between whether behaviour <lt cable is "ciYilizecl" or "uncivilized"
tion In the trenches, officers and soldiers again art when necessan- with knives
is our feeling of disrasre The fork is nothing ocher than the embodiment of a
and hands. The threshold of repugnance shrank rather rapidly und;r the pressure
specific standard of emotions and a specific leYel of reYulsion. Behind the change
of the mescapable si rnarion.
in earing techniques between the .Middle Ages and modern appears the
Apart from such breaches. which are al ways possible and can also lead to new
same process char emerged in rhe analysis of ocher incarnations ot this kind: a
consolidations. rhe line of development in rhe use of the knife is quire clear.w
The regulation and binding of the emotional economy haYe been sharpened. The change in rhe economy of dri,es and emotions
108 T!!l Cil'ilizing Pro(l:SJ 109

Modes of behaviour which in the Middle Ages were nor felt ro be in rhe least l rliese feelirn;s and chis standard, ro control rhemselnos more or less rigorouslr
w1r 1 L-

disrnsreful haw increasingly become surrounded by feelings of disrasce. The in ,1ccordance wirh ir, and to resrrain rheir drives and inclinations. It children tried
srnndard of delicacy finds expression in corresponding social prohibitions These w (Oucl1 somerhinl': srickv, wer or !.(reasv with their finuers rhev were role!, "You
L' , L L ,

taboos, so far as can be ascerrained, are nothing ocher rhan ricualizeJ or musr nor do rhar, people do nor do things like rhar" And the displeasure rowards
insricurionalized fedings of displeasure, disrasre, disgusc, fear or shame, feelings sud-'i conducr which is rhus aroused bv the adult finallv arises through habir.
. , L

\vh1ch have been socially nurrnred under quire specific condicions and which are without being induced by another person.
consrnnrly reproduced, nor solely but mainly because rhey have become institu- To a large extent, however, the conduct and drives of the child are forced even
tionally firmly embedded in a particular ritual, in parcicular forms of conduct. wirhour words inro rhe same mould and in the same direcrion by the facc rhar
The examples show-cerrainly only in a narrow cross-section and in the a P'1nicular use of knife and fork, for example, is completely esmblishecl in adulr
relacively randomly selected sraremenrs of individuals-how, in a phase of sociery-rhar is, by rhe example of rhe surrounding world. Since rhe pressure or
in which che use of rhe fork was nor .vet caken for o"ranted , tl1e coercion of individual adults is allied ro the pressure and example of rhe whole
feeling of distaste that first formed within a narrow circle was slowly extended. surrounding world, mosc children, as chey grow up, forger or repress relatively
.. Ir is very impolite .. , says Court in in 167 2 (Example G), "ro couch anything earlr rhe fr!Ct rhar their feelings of shame and embarrassment, of pleasure and
greasy, a sauce or syrup, etc., wirh your fingers, apart from the fact char it obliges were moulded into conformity with a certain standard by external
ro commit two or three more improper acts. One is ro wipe your hand pressure and compulsion . All this appears ro them as highly personal, something
rrequenrly on your serviette and ro soil ir like a kitchen cloth, so rhar those who "inside .. , implanted in rhem by narnre. \Vhile ir is scill directly visiblt in rhe
see you wipe your mouth with it feel nauseated . Another is ro wipe your fingers wrirings of Courrin and La Salle rhar adulrs, roo, were ar first dissuaded from
on your bread, which again is very improper. [N B. The French terms pmjm: and earing with their fingers by consideration for each other, by .. politeness", ro spare
111a!proj1r, used by Courrin and explained in one of his chapters coincide less with orhers a distasteful spectacle and rhemselves rhe shame of being seen with soiled
the German terms for clean and unclean (s:whur and 1111sc111htr) than with rhe word hands, later ir became more and more an inner amomarism, rhe imprint of
frequently used earlier, "proper".} The third is ro lick rhem, which is rhe hei 2 hr sociery on rhe inner self. the superego, that forbade rhe individual ro ear in any
of impropriety other way than with a fork. The social srandard to which the individual was firsr
The Ciz-i!it{ of 1 7 29 b1 La Salle (Example j), which transmitted rhe beha\iour made rn conform from outside by exrernal restraint is finally reproduced more or
of the upper class ro broader circles, says on one page: "\'\(!hen rhe fingers are very less smoorhly within him or her, rhrough a self-restraint which operates ro a
greasy, wipe them firsc on a piece of bread ... This shows how far from ''enen;l cerrnin degree even against his or her conscious wishes.
acceptance, even ar this rime, was the standard of delicacv rhac had Thus rhe socio-hisrorical process of cemuries, in rhe course of which the
already represented decades earlier. On the other hand, La s:1lle rook mer fairlv sranclard of what is felt to be shameful and offensive has been slowly raised, is re-
literally Courrin's precept rhar "Bie11s6u11Cc does nor permir anything greasy, enacred in abbrt\iared form in rhe life of the individual human being If one
sauce or a syrup, to be touched wirh rhe fingers . And, exacrlr like Courrin, he wished to express recurrent processes of chis kind in rhe form of laws, one could
mentioned among the ensuing i11,frilitis wiping the hands on .bread and licking speak, as a parallel ro rhe laws of biogenesis, of a funclamenral law of sociogenesis
the fingers, as well as soiling rhe napkin. and psychogenesis.
Ir can be seen rhac manners were here srill in the process of formation The new
standard did nor appear suddenly. Certain forms of behaviour were placed under v
prohibition, nor because rher were unhealrhr bur because they led roan offensive
sighc and associations; shame offering such a originally Changes in Attitudes Towards
absent, and tear of arousing such associations were gradually spread from rhe
the Natural Functions
srandard serring circles to larger circles by numerous aurhoriries and insrirurions .
However, once such feelings had been aroused and firmly established in socien- br Examples
means of certain rirnals like that involving rhe fork, they were constantly re;}ro-
duced so long as the srrucrnre of human relations was nor fundamenrall r altered . Fifteenth century?
older generation, for whom such a standard of conduct is accepted a matter A
of course, urges rhe children, who do nor come inro rhe world already equipped From S w.wizu1t !e.r 1011te11m1c1:s de /,; table:
l ll
110 Cirili::ing Pr(Jo.:s.1

VIII Reuarcll.n" c
rl1e unhealrhiness ot rern1nrng

r lie . win
d : "There art some \"erses in Yolume
. . . . l
c, , , . harchos e11 iurams where he descnbts rhe dlncss-beanng ['O\\t:r Of t lt:
Btfore ,-ou sir down. make sure 1our star has nor been fouled rwo or L"-1c ,. ., . .
. l t., bur since rhese lines are quoted by e\"erybody I \\ill nor commcm on
recan1ec. ,1rr. ,
B rhcn1 here.
From [ii/
-oLwhness the exuaordinan seriousness, and rhe complete freedom
Tl 1e rl10 i L:; , l:
_:;2l) De, nor much yourself unckr your clorhts wirh your bare hands . . l uesrions are {JLtbliclv discussed here that have subsequently -iecome
w1th\\1!Clq . .- l.b ..
. .cl - hi uh de"ree and owrlain in soC1al lite Wl(h strong pro 11 1(10115
rrv:1t1ze c0 '1 c o cl
c p . l l cleirlv che shift of rhe frontier of embarrassmem an 1rs
shows pc1rr1cu ar > ' . . . . l
1530 ific direction. Thar feelings of shame are frequently menr1onec
advance in a Spec
From D, ,-jz-i/itat, 11;r1m111 by Erasmus . The glosses are rnken from a discussion underlines the difference in rhe shame standard
explicitly in '
Cologne edirion of 15 W which was probably already imendtd for edurnrional
purposes Under the ride is the following nore: ""Recognized by rhe aurhor, and D
elucidared with new scholia by Gisberrus Longolil!S Ulrrarraiectinus, Cologne, in
tht year XXX. .. The fact that these questions were discussed in such ,1 way 1n . Dell-,1 C,1sa, quoted from the five-language edition (Geneva,
From Ga !i!!U1, b>
schoolbooks makes rhe difference from later attitudes particularly clear:
1609). p )2:
Ir is in1polite co greet son1eone \Yho is urinating or ddtcaring l . nor btlir -1 modesr honourable m,1n ro prepare rn rtlien: narure in rht
I( ( ots ' - , _ . . , . . ..
A \\ell-bred person should always a\"oid exposin!' wirhour necessir1 rhe pans to . 1 rlier l'tl>j'le nor rn Jo u11 his clorhts alrenrnrd ll1 rhe1r presence. S1mda1 h.
presence o o . . . . .. .. . . . . . .
which narnre has arrached modesn If nect:ssity compels rhis. ir should be done with he will nor wash his hands on rtrnrning rn decent soC1ery trom pn\ ,Ht pl.ices. ,1s rht
decency and even if no wirntss is present. for angtls art always present. and . li ,,-isliin,, \\"ill -1rouse dis,wreeable in people. .For .rhe same reason
rL".1son tor l:) c c ._
norhing is more 11elcome rn rhem in a boy rhan modesry. rht companion and guardian it is nor a refined habit. when con1ing ,1cross son1erhing 111 rht sl_1eet. as
of decency It it arouses sh,1mt rn show rhem ro rhe eyes of mhers. srill less should rhey somtrimes happens. ro rum ar once rn ones companion and po1nr ir om to him
be exposeJ ro rheir much le is for less proper to hold our rhe srinking rhing for rhe ocher to :mtll. as_ some: are
T(, hold back urine is harmful to healrh. to pass ir in secrer bernkens modesry There wonr. who even urse rhe orher rn do so. lifring rhe foul-smelling rhing to his nosmls
are those \\ho reach rhar the should rernin wind by compressing rhe belly Yer it and saying. ""I should like ro know how much rhar srinks"". 11hen ir would be berrer ro
is nor pleasing. while srri,ing ro appear urbane. rn conrracr an illness. If ir is possible s.iy. ""Because ir srinks do not smtll ir"
rn wirhdraw. ir should be done alone. Bur if nor. in accordance wirh rhe ancienr
pronrb. !tr a cou!'h hide rhc sound ;..[oremer. why do nor rhe same \\orks reach that
should nor dei"tcare. since it is mun: dangerous rn hold back wind rhan rn
constricr rhe bowel> 1570
[This is glossed as follows in rhe scholia. p _:\_):] From rhe \Vernigerocle Court Regulations of 15 !O:"c
To conrrncr an illness: Listen rn rhe old maxim abour rhe sound of wind If ir can be
purged \\irhour a noise rhar is besr Bur iris berrer rhar ir be emirred wirh a noise rhan One should nor. like rusrics who ha\"e nor been rn courr or li\"ed among refined and
rlrnr ir be held back honourable people. reliel"t: oneself wirhour shamt or reser\"t in fronr ot ladies. or before
r\r rhis poim. however. ir would have been useful rn suppress rhe fteling of rhe doors or \\"indows of courr chambers or orher rooms Rarher. e\"eryone oughr ar all
embarrassmenr so as w eirher calm your body or. follo\\ing rhe ach-ice of all donors. rimes and in all places to sho\\" himself reasonablt. courreous and rtspecrful in word
rn press your burrncks rngtrher and rn acr according ro rhe suggesrioos in Aethon"s and gesmrt
epigrams: Ewn rhough he had ro be careful not rn farr explosi,ely in rhe hoh place.
he nel"errheless prayed rn Zeus. rhough wirh compressed burrncks. The sound of F
farring. especially of those \\ho srancl on elernred ground. is horrible. One should make
sacrifices \\"ith rhe burrncks lirmly pressed rngtrher 1589
To !tr a cough hide the explosil"e sound: Those who. because rhey are embarrassed. From rhe Brunswick Court Regulations of 1589:";
wanr the explosi\"t ,,ind ro be heard. simulare a cough. Follow rht law of Chiliades:
Replace farrs wirh cout:hs Ler no one. whotvtr lie n1 .,1.\ be. l1cfc>r".
, ,1r. c>r afrer meals. tarh. or !are. foul rhe
112 Thu Ciz'ilizing PmC1:ss
srnircases. corridors or closers wirh urine or other tilth bur "O to suinble .. t d
places for such relief c '
' JXe>cn " exact opposite of what is prescribed in Examples C and G]: and it is shamefol and
indecent to do it in a way that can be heard by orhers.
Jr is never proper rn speak of the parts of rhe body rhar should be hidden. nor of
G cenain bodily necessiries ro which Nawre has subjecred us. nor even ro memion them
c. 1619
Richard The Bljoke 01 Dw1em11Jr m1c.I tm
1 'ii11zcanc, d11c; Di.wllouc111ct' of
11 J
C,rtt1i11e i\Iisd1:1mt1ll!11s i11 C1J111jJt111ie: 6'
From Johann Chrisrian Banh, The Gal/am Ethic. i11 ll'hich it is shr1u'l1 h1Jll' "yo1111g
I-i3 Ler nor thy privy members be
!/it/II sho;dd co1m11e11cl hi111se!f !iJ polite sr1(idy thrrJ!!gh refined ?lctS and C()J11j>lt1isant zrnrdr.
!aye! open to be view'cl.
ir is mosr shameful and abhorcl. Pri:jJ:trul the spccii!l c1d1w1tilgt and p!w.wrc of cd! 11/llilftl!rs 1Jf good
deresrnble and rude 111111111e1:1, 4rh edn (Dresden and Leipzig, 17 31 ), p. 288:
Reraine nor urine nor rhe wincle
which dorh rhy body vex German developments were somewhat slower rhan French. As rhe following
so ir be done wirh secresie excerpt shows, as late as rhe firsr half of rhe eighreenrh century a courresy precepr
!er rhar nor rhee perplex is given which represents rhe same srnndard of manners as rhar found in rhe
passage by Erasmus quoreJ abon:: "It is impolire w greer someone who is
H urinaring or deftcaring
If you pass a person who is relieving himself you should act as if you had nor seen him.
From rhe correspondence of rhe Duchess of Orleans (October 9, 169-:J: dare also
gnen as Augusr 25. 1718): and so ir is impolite ro greet him

fhe smell of rhe mire is horrible Paris is a dreadful place. The srreers smell so badlv K
rhar .1ou
cannor c"0 our The exrr"me
hnr causing
-, is [arge quanttt1es
of n1eat and rish 1774
ro rnr In rhem. and rhis, coupled to rhe mulrirucle of people who in rhe sm:er. Fron1 La Salle, Les Ri6les dt: ft1 biensit!lllf: ti cir: la cizilitc! chrffjel!Jh' ( 1774 edn). p"
produces a smell so cleresrable rhar ir cannor be endured. , The chaprer "On rhe Parts of rhe Body Thar Should Be Hidden, and on Narnral
Necessities" covers a good rwo and one-half pages in rhe earlier edirion and
I scarcely one and one-half in rhar of 177-1 . The passage "You should rake care
1729 nor ro rouch. ere. .. is missing. Much rhar could be and had ro be expressed earlier
From La Salle. Les Ri:,,),s
, d, !" bit11.r,:c111,,. ,,t c,,1t !a on
J. (Rauen, l 729), 1s no longer spoken of:
pp. -15ff:
Ir is a part of decency and modesty to col'er all parrs of the body except the head and
Ir is a P<:rr of decency and modesty to co1er all parts of rhe body except the head and hands
hands. 101 I
,. .
Id t
. I. s iou. care. so ar as you can. nor to touch with your bare hand any part As far as nawrnl needs are concerned. ir is proper (e1en for children) ro sarisfy rhem
01 rhe bod) rhar Is nor normally uncovered. And if rnu are ob!i"ed to dos ] II only 11here one cannor be seen
b d c O, It S lOU c
e one wnh great precaution. You should get used to suffering small discomforrs Ir is never proper ro speak of the parrs of rhe body rhar should always be hidden. or of
wnhom rwisrrng. rubbing or scratching. cerrain bodily necessiries to which nature has subjecred us. or el'tn to mention them
fr is far more contrary to decency and propriety to touch or see in another person.
pamcularly of rhe other sex. that which Heaven forbids 1ou to look ir In 10
\\?I . '
urse .
ien you. need to pass wa:er. you should always withdraw ro some 1768
place And It IS proper (even ior children) ro perform other nawral foncrions where iou
cannor be seen Letter from Madame du Deffand ro Madame de Choiseul, 9 May l 7 68; 1'' q uored
as an example of rhe presrige value of rhe utensil
It is re;y i111J;ofitr.., /r1 r:ll!it wi11d /rum *
}f1l!r hr1dr u l.h::ll in mm/Jt.JJJ_). d
hlou-, d'cJJ i.1 dr11h ll'i!ho/!l JHli.ff 1
[This rule. Ill I
me wn l more recent custom, is rhe
I should like to tell you. dear Grandmother. as I told rhe Grand-Abbe. how great was
in the Bchazi//!!r o/ th<: Swtlar Uf'f't1 C!m.rts i11 tlx \Fest 115

my surprise when a large ba/! from ,-ou was broughr to me ar my btd ytsrerdav - o nlv. seeming\', rational, i.e., founded primarily on the disgust and shame
,vhat is L -
mornin/! I hasrentd ro open ir. J'm in my hand. and found somt /!retn peas and
rhtn a Yase - rhar I quickly pulled om: ir was a chamber por. Bm of such beamy anc]
feelings of adults _ _ _ . _ .
7 As already mennoned, Erasmus m his uear1se acted as che forerunner of a
n1agnificcnct that n1y ptople say in unison rh.1t it r1l1ght fr, Ii:. 1ts:..d :1s .r hrut The

d 1:n!ll::.:r /)(J/ ll dJ (Jjj the zcho!t r{ t'ldJji!p,, tllld u d,1 c!(/111i1c:t! /;) (jj}c The ne; srandard of shame and repugnance which firsr ro form slowly in che
peas wtre earen rill nor one was ldi: secular upper class. Yer he also spoke as a marrer ot course abom which
it has since become embarrassing ro mention. He, whose delicacy_ of teelmg _is
demonsm1ted again and again by chis very ueacise, round norhmg amiss m
Some Remarks on the Examples
ca11int:'>" b,-} rheir names bodih-
functions \vhich, bv our presenr srnndards, may noc
and on these Changes in General be even menriontd in company, and still less in books on eriquene. Dur between
. delicacv and chis lack of inhibicion rhere was no contradiction. He spoke
t h IS
The c//111l1iis ,-erses Sa} lirtle on chis subjecr. The social commands and from another srngt of conuol and restraint of emotions.
prohibirions surrounding rhis area of life were relarively few . In chis respecr. coo, The different standard of sociery in Erasmus's rime becomes clear if one reads
ar lease in secular society, everyrhing was far more lax. Neirher rhe funcrions how commonplace it was ro meet someone "qui urinam reddit am alvum
rhemselYes, nor speaking abour rhem or associarions with rhem, were so intimare exonerar" (urinating or defecaring). And the greater freedom with which people
and privare, so invested wirh feelings of shame and embarrassment, as rhev later were able ar chis rime to perform and speak about their bodily functions before
ochers recalls the behaviour char can still be encountered, for example, through-
Erasmus's treatise marks, for rhese areas roo, a point on rhe curve of out rhe Orient roday. Bur delicacy forbids rhat one greer anyone encountered in
civilizarion which represents. on rhe one hand. a notable rise of rhe shame chis posirion.
threshold, compared ro rhe preceding epoch; and on rhe ocher, compared ro more The different srnndard is also visible when Erasmus says ir is not civil ro
recent rimes, a freedom in speaking of namral functions. a "lack of shame". require that rhe young man '\tntris thmm rerinear" (hold back his wind), for in
which ro most people adhering ro rhe present-day standard may ar firsr appear doing so he might. under the appearance of urbaniry. comracr an illness; and
incomprehensible and often "embarrassing" Erasmus comments similarly on sneezing and relared acts
_ Bur ar rhe same rime, ir is quire clear char chis rrearise had precisely rhe Healrh consiclerarions art nor found very frequently in rhis treatise. \Vhen
tuncrion of culrivaring feelings of shame. Reference ro rhe omnipresence of rhev do occur ir is almost alwavs. as here. ro oppose demands for the resrraint of
angels, used ro jusrify rhe restraint on impulses ro which rhe child was ro be funcrions; whereas above all in rhe ninereenrh century, rhey nearly
accusromed, is very characteristic. The foundations for rhe anxierr which was alwavs serve as insrrnmtnts ro compel rescraint and renunciarion of rhe gratifica-
aroused in young people, in order ro compel rhem ro suppress display of rion. of drives. Ir is only in rhe rwenrierh century rhar a slight relaxarion
pleasure in accordance wirh rhe standard of social condun, cham:ed in rhe course appears
of cenruries. Here, rhe anxiety aroused in connection wich th; renunciacion of 3. The examples from La Salle muse suffice ro indicate how rhe feeling of
drive gracificarion was explained and given substance ro oneself and others m delicacy was adrnncing. Again rhe difference berween rhe edirions of 1729 and
rerms of external spirits. Somewhat later, rhe resrraint which people had ro 177-:\ very insrrucrive. Certainly, even rhe earlier edirion already embodied a
impose upon rhtmselves. along wirh rhe fear, shame and distasre rowards an\ quite different standard of delicacy rhan Erasmus's rrearise. The demand rhat all
infringement. ofren appeared very clearly, ar least in rhe upper class. in namral funcrions should be remowd from rhe view of other people was raised
court! y-arisrocraric circle i cself, as social pressure, as shame and fear of ocher quire unequivocally. even if rhe urtering of rhis demand indicates char the acrual
people. In rhe wider sociecy, though. reference ro rhe guardian angel clearly beh,wiour of people-borh adulrs and children-did nor yer conform ro ir
remained ,-ery long in use as an inscrument for condicioning children. Ir receded Although La Salle said char ir is nor very polite even ro speak of such functions
somewhat when damage ro healrh and "hygienic .. were given more or rhe parts of rhe body concerned. he himself srill spoke of rhem with a
emphasis in bringing abom a certain degree of rescrainr of impulses and a minmeness of derail asronishing ro us; he called things by rheir names, whereas
specific modelling of emotions. These hygienic reasons rhen played an important rhe corresponding rerms are missing in Courtin's Cil'ilite of 1672, which was
role in adult thinking abom civilization, usually wirhour cheir relacion ro rhe inrended for rhe upper classes .
arsenal of childhood condicioning being realized Ir 1s onlv from such a In the lacer edition of La Salle. coo. all derailed refertnces were avoided . More
realizarion. however. rhac what is rational in them can be from and more these necessiries were "passed over in silence" The mere reminder of
116 The Cirilizi11g Pl'f!c2ss i11 rhe Bi:IJt1l'io111 o/ tht Semlm Uj>/m Classc.,- i11 th1: \Vi:st 117

chem had become embarrassing w people in rhe presence of ochers who were nor equa Is Incl
' become rhe upper., ruling. . _, class, that rhe familv"' became rhe_ only-or, _
close acquaintances. and in society everything that mighr even remorelv or xacrlv
more e . rhe primarv and dominant-institution with rhe tuncrion of
associarively recall such necessiries was avoided. . . 11 n'' drive conrroL Only then did rhe social dependence of children on their
1nsc1 1
A.r rhe same rimt, rhe txamples make ir apparent how slowly rhe real process parents become . important as a leverage for rhe socially required
of suppressing these functions from social life wok place. Sufficient marerial"r, rc"ulacion and mouldrng ot impulses and emonons.
has been passed down w us precisely because rhe silence on rhese subjects did not rhe srnge of rhe feudal courts, and still more in rhar of the absolme courts,
exisr earlier. or was less strictly observed. \\!bar is usually lacking is the idea char rhe courts themselves largely fulfilled this function for the upper class. In the
informarion of chis kind has more rhan curiosiry value, so char ir is seldom btcer srage, much of what has been made "second nature" in us had nor yet been
symhesized into a picmre of rhe overall line of development. However. if one inculGlted in rhis form, as an auromatically functioning self-restraint, a habit
rakes an overall view, a typical civilizing curve is again revealed. rhat, within cerrnin limits, also functions when a person is alone . Rather.
-4. A.r firsr rhese functions and rhe sighr of chem were invested onlr slighrlv restraint on the drives was at first imposed only in rhe company of others, i.e,
with feelings of shame and repugnance, and were rherefore subjected o;ly more consciously on social grounds. A.nd both the kind and the degree of
ro isolar10n and restraint. They were raken as much for granted as combing one's restraint corresponded to rhe social position of the person imposing rhem,
hair or purring on one's shoes. Children were conditioned accordingly. relative ro the position of those in whose company he or she was. This slowly
"Tell me in exact sequence". says the reacher to a pupil in a schoolbook of changes as rhe social distance between people is reduced and as the gradations of
1568, Mathurin Corclier's dialogues for schoolbovs,"- "what vou did between dependency relations, the hierarchical character of society lose their sharpness of
getting up and having your breakfast. listen caref:1lk bovs. so. char \'OLI learn ro outline A.s rhe interdependence of people increases with the increasing division
imitate your fellow pupil. .. "I woke up," says the ..got our of .bed, pur on of labour, everyone becomes increasingly dependent on everyone else, even those
my shirr, srockings and shoes, buckled my belt, urinated against rhe courtyard of high social rank on those people who are socially inferior and weaker. The
wall, rook fresh water from the bucker. washed my hands and face and dried hmer become so much the equals of the former that they, the socially superior
chem on the cloth, ere" people. can experience shame-feelings even in rhe presence of their social
In later rimes the action in the courryard. ar least in a book written like this inferiors Ir is only in this connection rhar the armour of restraints is fastened ro
one expressly as a manual of instruction and example, would haw been simply rhe degree which is gradually raken for granted by ptople in democratic
passed over as "unimportant" Here it is neither particularly "unimportant" nor indusrrial societies
particularly ''important". It is taken for granted as much as annhing else. To rake from rhe wealth of examples one instance which shows the contrnsr
A. pupil who wished ro report on this necessin todar would ,do either as a particularly clearly and which, correctly unclersrood, throws light on the whole
kind of joke. raking the invitation of the reacher. "too literally". or would speak development, Della Casa gives in his Gc1h1teo a list of malpractices ro be avoided.
of it in circumlocmions. Bur most probably he would conceal his embarrassment One should nor fall asleep in company, he says; one should nor rake om lerrers
with a smile, and a "complicit" smile from the others. rhe expression of a more and read them; one should nor pare or clean one's fingernails . "Furthermore", he
or less minor infringement of a taboo, would be the response. continues (p. 92), "one should nor sir wirh one's back or posterior rurned towards
The conclucr of :idulrs corresponded ro these different kinds of condirionin" another, nor raise a thigh so high rhar rhe members of rhe human body, which
For a long period the street. and almosr any place one happened ro be, served ti:; should properly be covered wirh clorhing at all rimes, might be exposed ro view.
same and related purposes as rhe courtyard wall abo\e. Ir was nor even unusual For this c111d similar thi11:;s are 11r1! done. e.\etpr tlli!rillg J11:r1/>ft 1chom om is 110!
ro rum ro rhe staircase, rhe corners of rooms, or rhe hangings on rhe walls of a t1shc1111ul (st non rra quelle persone, che l'huom non riverisce) It is trm that cl grMt
castle if one were overtaken by such a need. Examples E and F make rhis clear, lord might do so om of his serzmi/J" or i11 the /m;swce of a Ji'iwd of loli'i:I' ra11k: far in
Bm rhey also show how, given rhe specific and permanent interdependence of this he 1coiild 11ot sho1c him arrogance !Jiit /'{/ther a partimlar C111d fi'iwdship,"
many people living together at the courts, rhe pressure exerted from above There were people before whom one was ashamed, and others before whom
towards a stricter regulation of impulses, and therefore rowards greater restraint, one was nor. The feeling of shame was clearly a social function moulded
grew in strength . according ro rhe social structure. This was perhaps not often e.\j>ressed so clearly.
Stricter control of impulses and emotions was first imposed by chose of high Bur rhe corresponding bthm'io11r is amply documented . In France, 68 as late as the
social rank on their social inferiors or, at most, their social equals It was onlr seventeenth century, kings and great lords received specially favoured inferiors on
comparatively late, when bourgeois srrara with relatively large numbers of soci,;I occasions on which, a German saying was later ro run, even the emperor should
118 Pn;tlSs

bt alont. To rtctivt inftriors whtn gt[[ing up and being drtssed, or on going to Jiscoveries. On rhe contrary, fr would nm be very difficult demonstrate rhe
bed, was for a \\bolt period a maner of course. A.nd it shows exactly tht same . . ,sis 111cl 1)s\cho!!enes1s ot these 1mennons and d1scovenes
.;ooouent ' - ._, - . - .
". in con unction with a gtneral rrnnstormar1on of human relations. a
srngt of the shame-teelings when Voltaire's mistress, the !\larquist de Chatelet, c
Bor once. 1 ' _ .
shows herself naked to her servam while bathing in a way diat casts him inro . ,- hunnn needs v\"lS set in motion, rhe de\elopment of a technical
res11ap1ng o1 , . .
confusion. and rben wirh rornl unconcern scolds him btcause ht is nm pouring . corrcsi)ondinu ro rbe chanued standard consolidarecl the changed habHs
appar,1rus - o . ei .

in rht hot water properly..<"! wan excrwrdin-1f\'

' ' . de,ree.
This appararns senecl both the constant reproduc(lon
Behaviour which in more democratized industrial socitries has become of the standard and irs dissemination.
lt is nor uninteresting ro observe rhar today [in che 19.">0s, the rranslaror}.
surrounded on all sidts wirh rnboos. with learned feelings of shame or embarrass-
.s snnd1rd of conduct has been so heavih consolicbted that it is taken
ment of varying degrees. was at this earlier period only partially so surrounded. wl1en r 111 ' ' .
Ir was omirrtd in tht company of those of higher or equal rank. In this area. roo,
tor (rnu1 red , 1
' cert11
n relaxation
. is strring.__, in. l'arricularlv
. in companson to the
tll cenrur\. ' 1r
wich reuard ro wlk about the natllral functions. The
coercion and restraint were self-imposed on rhe same pattern as was \isible b .
.-rreecIorn '-111 c! hck
' of inhibition with which people sav what has ro be said
earlier in cable manners. "Nor do I believe", wt read in Galateo (p. 580), "that ir
without embarrassment. wi[hom rhe forced smile and laughter of a wboo
is fi[[ing ro serve from rhe common dish intended for all guests, unless rhe server
t- 11 uemtnt has clearly increased in [he posr-war period Bm this, like modern
is of higher rank so rhar rhe other, who is served, is thereby especially honoured. !11flo , . - .
ba[hing anJ dancing practices, is only possible because the level of hab1tllal.
For when this is clone among equals. it appears as if rhe sener is parth placing
and insrirnrionally consolidated self-control, the individual ca1x1ciry
himself above the others."
to restrain one's urges and behaviour in correspondence with the more advanced
In this hierarchically structllred society, ewry act performed in rhe presence of
feelings for what is offonsi\'e, has bttn on the wholt secured. Ir is a relaxation
many people rook on prestige rnlue. For rhis reason the restraint of rhe emotions,
within rht framework of an already established standard
that we call "politeness'', also had a different form from what it became later,
6. The sr<mdard which is emerging in our phase of rht civilizing process is
when outward differences of rank had been parrly len:lled. \\!hat is mentioned characrerized by a profound disrance berwten rhe behaviour of so-called "adults ..
here as a special case in intercourse between equals. that ont should nor strvt and children The children have in rhe space of a few years w attain rhe advanced
anothtr, later btcamt a gtntral practice . In company e\eryont helps themselves, level of shame and revulsion rhar has de\'eloped over many cenmries. Their dri\es
and everyone begins earing ar rhe samt time. musr be rapidly subjected to the strict conrrol and specific moulding that gives
The sitllation was similar with rhe exposure of rhe body. First ir became a our socitries their srnmp, and which developed very slowly owr centuries. In this
distasteful offence ro show oneself exposed in any way before those of higher or the parents ,ue only rhe (ofren inadequate) instruments, the primary agents of the
equal rank; with inferiors ir could even be a sign of good will. Then. as all conclirionins: through rhtm and thousands of orhtr instruments it is always
become socially more equal, it slowly became a general offence. The social socien as a whole, rht entire figuration of human beings. rhar exerts irs pressure
determination of shame anJ embarrassment-feelings receded more and more on new generation, forming rhem more or less perfectly
from consciousness. Prtcisth because rht social command nor w expose oneself In rhe J\Iiddle Ages, roo. ir was the society as a whole which exerted this
or be seen ptrformi,ng natllral funccions now operates with regard to e\eryone formative pressure, t\'en if-ir remains ro show this more exactly-the mecha-
and is imprinted in this form in children, ir seems w adults robe a command of nisms and organs of conditioning. particularly in rhe upper class, wert in large
their own inner selves and rakes on che form of a more or less rornl and aurnmaric part different from rhose of rnday.. Bur above all, rhe control and restraint to
st 1f-res r rai nr which the drive life of adults was subjected was considerably less than in the
5. Bur this weeding out of rhe namral functions from public life, and che following phase of civilization, as consequently was tht difftrence in behaviour
corresponding regulation or moulding of drives, was only possible because, between adults and children.
together with growing sensitivity, a rtchnical <lppararns was developed which The individual inclinations and tendencies which medieval writings on
solved fairly satisfactorily rhe problem of eliminating chese funccions from social eriquerre were concerned to control were ofren the samt as can be frequently
lift and displacing rhem behind che scenes. The sirnarion was nor unlike rhat obser,.ed in chilJrtn today However, they are now dealt with so early rhar
regarding cable manners. The process of social change, rhe advance in rhe certain kinds of "bad habit" which were quire commonplace in rhe medieval
frontiers of shame and rhe threshold of repugnance, cannot be explained by any world scarcelv manifest themsehes in present-day social life
ont thing. and certainly nor by che development of technology or by scientific Children r.oday ,1re admonished nor ro snatch whatever they want from the
120 The Ciz'i!izing Pmass Chm1gcj i11 ihe Buh,11io111 of the Scm!t1r Upper C!mses in the \Vest 121

ca_ble, and nor ro scratch rhemstlves or rouch their noses, ears, eyes or other parts nu with rhe earlier standard. incomparablv weaker than ours. Consequently,
keep1 o . .
or their bodies at table. The child is instructed nor ro speak or drink \virh a full he social prohibition on rhe express10n of such feelings was much less grave.
moll[h, or ro sprawl on the cable. and so on ..Many of these precepts art also to behaviour was nor regarded as a "pathological anomaly'' or a "perversion",
be found in Tannhiiuser's Hr;fz!!cht. for example, bll[ there rhey are addressed nor bur rather as an offence against mer, courresy or good form
ro children bll[ unequivocally ro adults. This becomes still more apparent if one Della Casa spoke of this "bad habit" with scarcely more emphasis than we
considers the way in which adults earlier satisfied their natural needs. This verv might roday speak of someone biting his or her nails in public. The very fact rhar
often happened-as the examples show-in a manner that would be jus't he of 'such things" at all shows how harmless this practice rhen still
rolerared in children roday. Often enough, needs were satisfied where and when appeared. . . . .
they happened to be felt. The degree of resrraint and control over drives expected Nevenheless, m one way this example marks a rurnmg-pomr It may be
by adults of each other was not much greater rhan that imposed on children. The supposed char affect-expressions of this sort were nor lacking in the preceding
disrance between adults and children, measured by that of roday, was slight. period. Bur only now did they _begin ro attract attention . Society_ was _gradually
Today the ring of precepts and regulations is drawn so rightly about people, beginning ro suppress the pos1tne pleasure component 1n certain funcnons more
the censorship and pressure of social life which forms rheir habits are so strong, and more strongly by the arousal of anxiety. Or more exactly, it was beginning
that young people have only two alternatives: ro submit ro the pattern of to "privatize" them, ro force them imo the "inside" of individuals, into "secrecy",
behaviour demanded by society. or to be excluded from life in "decent societv". and to allow rhe negatively-charged affects--displeasure, revulsion and
A child that does nor attain rhe level of affect-moulding demanded by socier; is repugnance-co be the only socially allowed feelings rhar art dtveloptd through
regarded in varying gradations from rhe standpoint of a particular caste or class, socializarion. Bm precisely by this increased social proscription of many impul-
"ill", "abnormal", "criminal", or just "impossible", and is accordingly excluded ses, by their 'repression" from the surface both of social life and of consciousness,
from the life of that class. Indeed, from a psychological point of view, rhe terms the distance between rhe personality srrucmre and behaviour of adults and
"sick", "abnormal", "criminal'', and "impossible" have, up ro a certain point, no children was necessarily increased.
other meaning; how they are undersrood varies with rhe hisroricallv mutable
models of affect formation .
Very instructive in this regard is the conclusion of Example D: "Ir is far less
proper ro hold out the stinking thing for the orher ro smell, ere." A drive- On Blowing One's Nose
formarion and behaviour of this kind would, by today's standard of shame and
revulsion, simply exclude a person as "sick", "pathological". or "perverse" from
mixing wirh others. If the inclination ro such behaviour were manifested
publicly, the person would. depending on his or her social position. be confined
indoors or in a mental institution. At best, if this rendencv were only manifested
behind the scenes, a specialist in nervous disorders would -be assigned rhe cask of
Thirteenth century
From Bonvesin de la Riva (Bonvicino da Riva), De !t1 zi11q11t111ta cortexit dt1 tctl'ola
correcting this person's unsuccessful conditioning. In general, impulses of rhis
(Fifty table courtesies):
kind have disappeared from the waking consciousness of adults under rhe
(a) Precept for gentlemen:
pressure of conditioning. Only psychoanalysis uncovers them in rhe form of
unsatisfied and unsatisfiable desires which can be described as rhe unconscious or
\'\!hen you blow your nose or cough. mm round so that nothing falls on the cable.
the dream level of the mind. And these desires have indeed in our society the
character of an "infantile" residue, because the social standard of adults ma-kes a
(b) Precept for pages or servants:
complete suppression and transformation of such tendencies necessarv, so that
rhey appear, when they occur in adults, as a "remnant" from childho;d
Pox la tremena e quesrn:
The standard of delicacy represented by Gtt!atuo also demanded a detachment zaschun correse donzello
from these instinctual tendencies Bur the pressure to transform such inclinations Che se vore mondil lo naxo,
exerted on individuals bv socierv was minimal compared to rhar of roda\. The con Ii drapi se faza bello;
feeling of revulsion. disgust aroused by such behaviour \\:as. in Chi mangia, over chi menesua,
in rhc Beh:11io11r of thl Sw!lar U/1/nr Classes iii the \'Vi:sr 12.'\
122 The Ciri/i::;i11g Pr1J<cSS

no Je'sofi11 con le clie: [From dH: scholia on this passage:]

Berween snot and spit there is litrle difference. except that the former fluid is w be
Con Ii Jrapi da pey se monda
vosrra correxia ;: inrerpn:red <lS coarser and the Lurer more unclean The Latin writers consrandy confuse
a bre,istband. a napkin or any piece: of linen with a handkerchief

Fifteenth century?
From Ei11 spmch du :::c tische kl:rt.: 1558
Frnm GtdC1teo. by Della Cas,1, quoted from the five-language edition <Geneva,
le is unseemly w blow your nose inrn rhe rableclorh 1609), pp. 72, 44, 618:

c You should not offer your handkerchief w anyone unless it has been freshly
From sw.wizwt !es (f;l/fci/{l//!H de !Cl tc1hle: washed
Nor is ir seemly. ,1fo:r wiping your nose. to spread om your handkerchief and peer
XXXIIl into it as if pearls and rubies might have fallen our of your head
Do not blow your nose wirh rhe same han<l that you use rn hol<l the me<n.''"'' \\!hat. then. shall I say of those who carry their handkerchiefs abom in their
From A. Cabanes. 1\foe111J intimes di! tm1ps pass!! (Paris, 1910), lsc series, p . 101: G
from Cabanes, 1\foum inti111ts, pp" 103, l68, 102:
In the fifreenrh cenrury people blew rheir noses into their fingers, and rhe scul pm rs of
the age were nor afraid to reproduce the gesrnre, in a passably realisric form, in their [From J\farrial cl Aun:rgne. "Lon: decrees'] in order that she might remember him.
monuments he decided to have one of rhe mosr beauriful and sumptuous handkerchiefs made for
Among the knights. the plourans. at the grave of Philip rhe Bold at Dijon. one is her. in which his name was in leners enrwinecl in the prettiest fashion, for it was joined
seen blowing his nose into his coat, another inro his fingers. co a fine golden hearr bordered with tiny hearr's eases,,..,...

E [From Lesroil.}li1m1al d'Henri !\'] In 159-l. Henri IV asked his valet how many shim
he [the King] had. and rhe larrer replied: "A dozen, sire, and some mm ones ... "And
Sixteenth century
how many handkerchiefs;" asked the king "Have I nor eight?" "For the momenr rhere
From De civi!itate iil1Jri1111 /J11erili11111, by Erasmus, ch . l:
are only fi,e. he said

To blo\\ your nose on your hat or clothing is rustic, and tu do so with the arm or elbow
In 1599. afrer her death, the imemory of Henri !V's mistress is found rn contain "five
befirs a tradesman: nor is ir much more polire w use the hand, if \'OU immediatelv
handkerchiefs worked in gold. silver and silk. worrh 100 crmrns"
smear the snor on your garment. Ir is proper to wipe the noscrils \\'iti1 a handkerchief.
and rn do rhis whi)t mming aw,1y, i/ Ji/or, hono111'ahfc /v1plc ar, pr<Swt
In the sixteenth century. Monreil tells us, in France as everywhere else. 1h, 01111mo11 /1,opf,
If anyrhing foils rn rhe ground when blowing the nose ,,ith rwo fingers. ir should
hku thr:ir n11sr::s u itholt! d h:nulkc..,rchir:/ h111 illlJrmg thr.. hourgr:oisic.. it i.1 t/((tj1hcf jn'd(fi(c.. ft1 !!St
immecliarely be rroclclen awa\' to .Lt) that
//_Ii: J/u..Fc' As tlh ri(h. C:irJ) d in thr::ir
h;1s tcudth, r1ih Sd)S tlut hr:: dou not /;/ou his nose: (JIJ his sherc
meaning of passage (b) is not entirely clear \\1har is apparent is that it \Vas ad<lrtssed especially
topeople who strYtd at cable. A commenrnror, Ugucciont Pisano, savs: "Those are called
who art handsomt. young. and tht sen;:mts of grtat lords Thtst. doni::1-l!i were not allowed ro
sit at the s;:1me table as the kni_shts; or, if this was ptrmitttd, thty had to sit on a lower chair The\, Late seventeenth century
pages of a kind and at any rate social inferiors. were told: The thirty-first counts\ is The Peak of Refinement
,i,urfois 'Jonzel who wishes to blow his nose should beautify himself with a cloth. \\;hen he is
First Highpoint of Consolidation and Rescrictions
or string ht should not blow (his nose?) through his fingers. Ir is ,:1110'/ois ro use rhe fm;t
bandage ..
This cloth was intended to be hung from the lady's girdle. with her keys Like the fork. night-
According to an editors nott ([J.;L Br,,,J:. Yo! 2. p. 1-!L courtesy consisted in blowin<> the
commode. etc, tht handktrchitf is first an expensiYt luxury arriclt
nose with tht fingers of the left hand if one are and rook meat from rht dish with the
12-i The Cil'ilizi11g Process Ch1111gc.r i11 the B2hario11r of t!Jt S1:wlar Upper Clmse_r in the \\'!i:st 125

1672 how improper ic is rn see such uncleanliness on clothes. which should always be very
From Courrin, 1'\r111rcd11 traite de (i1i!ite: clean. no matter how poor they may be
There art some who put a finger on one nostril and by blowing through their nose
nist onw the ground the filrh inside; those who act thus are people who Jo nor know
{Ac cable] to blow your nose openly inrn your handkerchief, withom concealing
yourself with your serviette, and to wipe away your sweat with it are filthy habits what decency is
You should always use your handkerchief to blow your nose. and rn:ver anything else.
fir co n1akt everyone's gorge rise,
and in doing so usually hide your face with your hat. {A particularly clear example of
You should amid yawning, blowing your nose and spitting If you are obliged to do
so in places that are kept clean, do it in your handkerchief, while turning your face the dissemination of courtly customs through this work]
You should avoid making a noise when blowing your nose Before blowing it. it
away and shielding yourself with your left hand, and do nor look into yom handkerchief
is impolire rn spend a long time raking out your handkerchief Ir shl/11 s 11 /,u'k (Jf rc.1;1ccr
u,mlr the />,of'/, )'111 ttrc: 11 ith rn unfold it in different places to see where vou are ro use
it. You should rake your handkerchief from your pocket and use it quickly in such a
wav chat you are scarcely noticed by mhers
1694 After blowing your nose you should take care nor to look into your handkerchief It
From Menage, Dictio1111airc etymologiq11e cit la lcmg11e is correcr to fold it immediately and replace it in your pocket

Handkerchief for blowing the nose.

As this expression '"blowing the nose "ives a vet\' impression ladies ou"ht
to call this a pocket htrndk;rchief, as says neckerchief, rather than a 1774
blowing the nose. [NB 1\fo11choir dc poch,, T(1Schent11ch, handkerchief as mote polite From La Salle, Les Regkr de la himsiance et de!{/ cirilite dm:tie1111e (177-i ed). pp 1-if.
expressions; the word for functions that have become disrastefol is suppressed ] The chapter is now called only "On the Nose" and is shortened:

Eighteenth century E,ery nilunrnry movement of rhe nose. whether mused by the hand or otherwise. is
Nore che increasing distance between adulcs and children Onlv children were impolite and childish To put your fingers imo your nose is a rernlting impropriety.
and fron1 touching it roo often ?Jld) .nik u hid1 ,;rt :.1 fr!llg rillh ;;-
scill allowed, ac lease in che middle classes, to behave as adults did in che Middle
Children are sufficiemh in the habit of committing this lapse; p:1r,111J .h"J!id c"1;r;"t :hc:m

] '{ou should obserw, in blowing your nose. all the rules of propriety and cleanliness
From an anonymous Ciri!ite jim1fc1ise <Liege, 171-i), p. 141: All derails are avoided. The "conspiracy of silence" is spreading. Ir is based on
rhe presupposition-which evidently could not be made at the rime of the earlier
Take good care not to blow your nose with your fingers or on your sleeve lik, childr,n; eclicion-char all the derails are known co adults and can be comrolled wirhin
use your handkerchief and do not look Into it afterwards. cht family

1729 1797
From La Salle, Les Reg/es de la biemec111ce et de la cil'ilite dm!tie1111e (Rouen, 1729), in From La Mesangere, Lt zoyt1ge11r de Pcll'is (1797), vol. 2, p 95. This is probably
a chapter called "On the Nose, and the Manner of Blowing che Nose and Sten, to a greater excenr chan the preceding eightetmb-cenrury examples, from
Sneezing", p. 23: the point of view of the younger members of "good sociecy";

It is very impolite to keep poking your finger into your nostrils, and still more Somt years ago people made an art of blowing the nose Ont imitated tht sound of the
insupportable to pm what you have pulled from your nose into your momh
It is vile to wipe your nose with your bare hand, or to blow it on vour sleeve or vour *This argument. in the earlier edition. shows clearly how rht
clothes It is very contrary to decency to blow your nose with two fingers and the,n to was p:raJuall: bt:ginning to tmergt: as an insrrumtnt of conditioning. ofrtn in place of tht remin<ltr
throw the filth onto the ground and wipe your fingers on your cloches. It is well known about tht resptct Jue rn social superiors
126 Thr. P111(cJY

rrun1peL anorhcr tht: scn:ech of a cat Perfecrion la;, in n1aking: neither too n1uch noise it (Examples E H, L K, L) Ir almost seems as if inclmations which had
nor rno litde _ b . . eel w a certain control and resrraim by rhe llltroducrion or tht
bten ,u 1ecr . . .. ..
] . t' seekinu a new ouder Ill chis way Ar am rare, a dnve which
h;!lld kere 1ie c c . c . . . . . . . , . . . .
,. rs 1r most Ill rht unconscious. Ill dreams, Ill the sphere or secrtc\, or
Comments on the Quotations on Nose-Blowing roday ap1x' ' 1 . .. . . . . . . .
. ... ush onlv "behind rht scenes , rhe rmeresr Ill bodily secreuons, heie
more consLl 0 . . . . . . .
In meditrnl sociecy people generally blew rheir noses inco rheir hands, just
, -If u rn earlier srnr.;e ot rhe historical process more cltMly and optnl],
shows l rse ' ' c .. . . . .

as rhey art wirh rheir hands . Thar nectssitartd special preceprs for nose-cleaning _ . form in which coda\ ir is only "normally ns1ble m children
an d ,o lll '1 . . . .. .
ar cable. PolHeness, (o;nf//isic, required char one blow one's nose wirh rhe left , l lir-r edition ot La Salle, as 111 orher cases, rhe major part ot rhe \et}
in tie ' c . . ,

hand if ont rook meat with the righr. Bur this prc:cc:pr was in fact resrricred to 1 ! . recei1rs from die e<ulier one were omirred The use ot the hanclkerch1d
l ec 11
rhe cable. Ir arose solely out of consideration for ochers. The disrnsreful feeling had become more general and self-evident It was no longer necessary to be so
1 . llforeover chert was less ,rnd less inclination rn speak abom these derails
frequendy aroused today by rhe mere rhoughr of soiling rhe fingers in chis way exp11c1L 1 , . . . . . .
was ar first entirtly absent . , L S lle ori "inalh discussed \\'Hhout rnh1bmon and at length \\ irl10ut
rnar ,1 '1 "' , .

Again rhe examples show very clearly how slowly rhe seemingly simpltst -mb, rrassmenr More srress, on rht ocher hand, \\'<lS laid on children s bad habit
instruments of civilizarion have developed. They also illustrate to a certain ".- 'n" rbe finuers in rht nose. And, as with other childish habits, the health
ot putci c c _ . . .
degree rhe particular social and psychological precondirions that were required ro " 110 w 11)1)t"ued alongside or in jJlace ot rhe social one as <lll lllStrumenr ot
svarn1nt:" ' - ' ,__
make the need for and use of so simple an insuumem general The use of the conditioning, in rhe rettrence w the harm char could be done by doing "such a_
handkerchief--like that of rhe fork-first established itself in Irak and was thine:" roo often This was an expression of ,1 change in rhe manner ot
diffused on account of its prestige rnlue. The ladies hung the precious, richly conditioning that has already been considered from ocher aspects. Up rn d1is
embroidered clorh from their girdles. The young "snobs" of the Renaissance offer rime, habits were almost always judged expressly in rhtir relation w orher
it co ochers or carried it about in their mouths. And since it was precious and people, and chey ,1re forbidden, ar lease in rht secular upper class, because ..they
rtlati\ely expensiw, at first there were nor many of chem even among rhe upper might be troublesome or embarrassing ro ochers. or because they betrayed a lack
class. Henri IV, at rhe end of rhe sixreemh cenwry, possessed (as we hear in of respect". Now habits were condemned more and more as such. nor 111 reg<ud
Example Gl five handkerchiefs. And it was generally raken as a sign of wealth ro ochers. In chis way, socially undesirable impulses or inclinations become more
nor ro blow one's nose imo one's hand or sleeve bm into a handkerchief Louis radicalh- suppressed. Thev become associated with embarrassmem. fear, shame or
XIV was rhe first rn hme an abundam supply of handkerchiefs, and under him guilr. when one is alone 11uch of what we call "morality" or "monil"
rhe use of them became general, ac lease in comely circles ;easons has rht same function <lS "hygiene" or "hygienic" reasons: ro condition
2 . Here, as so ofrtn, rhe transitional siwarion is clearly visible in Ewsmus. Ir children rn a certain social standard ;\foulding by such means aims ar making
is proper rn ust a handkerchief he says, and if people of a higher social socialh desirable bth,1viour aurnm<1tic a matter of self-conrroL causing it to
are present, wrn away when blowing your nose. Bm he also says: If you blow appea; in rht consciousness of indi\iduals as the result of their own frte will, rnd
your nose with rwo fingers and something falls rn rhe ground, cre,1d on ir. The in rhe inreresrs of rheir own health or human dignity. And it was only with rht
use of rhe handkerchief was known but nor yet widely disseminated, t\tn in rhe advem of rhis wa\ of consolidating habits, or conditioning. which gained
upper class for which Erasmus primarily \\rote predominance wid; rhe rise of the middle classes, char conflict berwttn rhe
Two cenrnries later, rhe sirnacion was almosr reversed. The use of rhe socially inadmissible impulses ,rnd rendtncies, on the one hand, and the pattern
handkerchief had become general, ar lease among people who lay claim w "good of social demands anchored in individuals, on rhe od1er, wok on rht sharply
behmiour.. Bm rhe use of rhe hands had by no means disappeared Sten from defined form cemral ro rhe psychological theories of modern rimes-above alL ro
abme, ir had become a "bad habit", or at any rare common and vulgar. Ont reads psychoanalysis. Ir may be "char rllere have always been .. "neuroses" But the
with amusemem La Salle's gradations berween cilc1i11, for certain ven' cm1rse wavs "neuroses" we see about us today art a specific hisrorical form of psychic conflict
of blowing rhe nose with rhe hand, and tres (011trairi: ti Ill for rhe which needs psychogenetic and sociogeneric illumination.
manner of doing so with two fingers <Examples H, J, K, L). _:;. An indication of rhe mechanisms of suppression may already be comained
Once the handkerchief began to come into use, there consrnmh recurred a in rht rwo verses qumecl from Bonvicino da Rirn (Example Al. The difference
prohibition on a new form of "bad habit" thar emerged ar the sam; rime as rht between wh<H was expected of knights and lords. on rhe one hand, and of the
ne\\' pracrice-d1t prohibirion on looking into one's handkerchief when one had c/11/!i:el/i, pages, or servants, on rhe ocher, calls to mind a much clocumemed social
128 Th, Cfrili::i11g Prr1(t.>s Ch:lilges i11 tbe Behal'irwr of thu Sew!m UjJf7er Classes in the \Vist 129

phenomenon. The masters found the sight of the bodilv functions of theu b' sed JJrimarilv on consideration and respect due to others and above all to
a . -
servants disrasrefol: they compelled them, the social inforiors in their immediatf ' l superiors. In rhe subsequent stage, renunciation and restraint of impulses
50(1<1 - . '-- ..
surroundings, ro control and restrain rhese functions in a wav rhar they did were compelled far less by parncular persons: expressed provisionally and
at first impose on themselves. The verse addressed ro the masters says simply: If .nnrelr it was now, more clirecrlv than before, the less visible and more
appro Xl ' , ' . . . ...
you blow your nose, rurn round so that nothing falls on rhe rable. There is no . -rsonal compulsions of sooal 1nterclependence, the cl1v1s10n of labour, the
J!1ljA ' ' . . . . .
mention of using a cloth. Should we believe that rhe use of cloths for cleaning arker and compet1t1on rhar imposed resrramt and control on rhe impulses and
the nose was already taken so much for granted in rhis society rhar ir was no :motions. Ir is these pressures, and rhe manner of conditioning and instilling
longer thought necessary ro mention it in a book on mannersi That is highlv t ols mentioned above which correspond to them, rhar make ir appear rhar
improbable The servants, on the other hand, were: expressly insrruned w use n;t ,ill\ desirable behaviour is voluntarily produced bv' rhe individual him or
SOC! ,
their fingers bur their foor bandages if they had to blow their noses. To be sure herself, on his or her own initiative. This applies ro rhe regulation and restraint
this interpreration of the two \erses cannot be considered absolutely cerrain. Bu; of drives necessary for .. work .. : it also applies ro the whole pattern according to
the fact can be freguently demonstrated that functions were found distasteful and which drives are modelled in bourgeois industrial societies. The pattern of affect
disrespectful in inferiors which superiors were not ashamed of in themselves. control, of what must and what must nor be restrained, regulated and trans-
This fact rakes on special significance when, with rhe emergence of absolutism formed, is ctrrninly nor the same in this srage as in the preceding one of the
that is at the absolute courts, rhe aristocracy as a whole had become court aristocracy. In keeping wirh its different interdependencies, bourgeois
hierarchically graded and simulraneousl> a serving and socially dependent society applies srronger rtsrricrions rn certain impulses, while in the case of
stratum. This at first sight highly paradoxical phenomenon of an upper class rhar others aristocratic restrictions are simply continued and transformed ro suit rhe
was socially extremely dependent will be discussed larer in another context. Hert changed situation. In addition, more clearly distinct narional patterns of affect
wt can only point out that this social dependence and its structure had decisive conr;ol are formed from the various elements. In both cases, in arisrocratic court
importance for the srrucmrt and pattern of affect restrictions. The examples societr as well as in rht bourgeois societies of the nineteenth and twentieth
con rain numerous indications of how these resrricrions were intensified wirh rhe the upper classes are socially constrained to a particularly high degree
growing dependence of rhe upper class. Ir is no accident rhar the first peak of The central role played by rhis increasing dependency of the upper classes as a
rehnement'" or '"delicacr .. in the manner of blowing the nose-and nor onlv motor of civilization will be shown later
here--came in the phase when the dependence and subservience of rhe arisr;-
craric upper class was at irs heighr, rhe period of Louis XIV (Examples H and
The dependencv of the upper class also explains rht dual aspect which
On Spitting
behaviour patterns and instruments of civilization had at least in their formatin:
phase: they expressed a certain measure of compulsion and renunciation, bur rhey
always also sene as a weapon against social inforiors, a means of distinction.
Handkerchief, fork. plates and all related implements \Vere at first luxurr articles
Middle Ages
with a particular social prestige nlut (Exam pit G) .
The social dependence in which the succeeding upper class, rhe bourgeoisie,
lives, is of a different kind, certainly, from that of rhe court aristocracr, but rends
to be rather greater and more compelling . 27 Do nor spit over or on the rable
In general, we scarcely realize today what a unigue and asronishing phenom-
37 Do nor spir into rhe bowl when washing your hands
enon a "working .. upper class is. \\iln does ir work; \\/hr submit itself ro this
compulsion even though it is the rul.ing"' class and is nor commanded B
by a superior ro do soi The question demands a more derailed answer rhan is
possible in this context. \\/hat is clear, however, is the parallel to what has been
said on the change in rhe instruments and forms of conditioning During rhe 29 Do not spit on rhe rnble
sragt of the court aristocracy, the restraint imposed on inclinations' and 51 Do not spir into rhe basin when you wash your hands, bur beside ir
uo Th, Ciz'ili:::i11g PrlJlHS i11 th, Bch:11iom rf tht Sul!!dr Upper Clc1ssc.r i11 tht \Fest Ul

c In rht old days you could yawn. provided you did nor speak while doing so: today.
person of rnnk would be shocked by this

HS If thou spite on:r the borde. or elles opon,

thou schalle be holden an uncurrayse mon H
U.' Afrcr mtte when chou shall w;bshe. 1714
from an anonymous Ciriliti! jitlllfdist (Litgt. 171-i), pp. 6 7 -i 1:
spin nor in basyn, ne wacer thou dasshe.

Frcquenr spitting is disagreeable. \\?hen it is necessary you should conceal it as much

D ;is possible. and avoid soiling either persons or rheir clothes. no matter who they ate.
From Zarncke, D,r dr11tscht Ct1to. p. 137: nor 6 cn rhe embers beside the fire. And wherever you spir. \'OU should put your foot
on rhe saliva
>-() Do not spit across the table in the manner of hunters
.At tlx hl!!!St:S rl tht. Olh spits i11fr1

Ir ill becomes you to spit out of the window or onro the tire.
E Do not spir so far that you have to look for the saliva to put your foot on it
From Dt cil'ilitatc ll/fJl'l!i11 f'11crilim11. by Erasmus: I
Turn away when spitting. lest your saliva fall on someone. If anything purulent falls to 1729
. ground. it should
. be trodden u1oon
- , ltst
- it n1useue
' ' som-one
e . JI- you arc nor at from La Salle, Les Rig/es cit la bic11si:111cr d cit lc1 cil'iliti chri!tic1111c (Routn, 17 29).
liberty tu do rlm. catch the sputum in a small cloth. It is unmannerly ro suck back p. 55:
saliva, as equalh are those "horn we see spirrini; 1r e\en- third word not f
but from habit. . ' . rom necessity
You should not abstain from spitting. and it is very ill-mannered to swallow what
should be spat. This can nauseate others
F Nevertheless. you should nor become accustomed to spitting too often. and without
1558 need. This is not onh unmannerly. but disgusts and annoys everyone \\"hm )"II di 11 jfh
uc!/-/;1,rn /1,0/1/c, and when you ate in places that are kept clean, it is polite to spit imo
From Gdc1tt 11. bv Della Casa . C]Lloced t-ron1 clle cuve- j anguage ecl icion (Geneva,
your handkerchief while turning slightly aside
1609), p. 570:
It is ewn good manners for everyone to get used to spitting inro a handkerchief
lt is also unseemly tor someone sittin at table ro scratch himself At such a rime and when in the houses of the great and in all places with waxed or parquet Hours. Bur it
place you should also abstain as far as possible from spitting. and if it cannot be is far mote necessary to acquire the habit of doing so when in church, as far as is
completely arnided it should be done politely and unnoricecL possible Ir often happens. howewr. that no kitchen or even srablt floor is dirtier
I have ofter. heard that "hole peoples have sometimes lived so moclerarelv and than that of the church.
conducted themseln:s so honourably that they found spitting quite unnecessan .\Xrlw. Afrer spitting into your handkerchief. you should fold it at once, without looking <H
therdon::. should not Wt too be able to refrain from it just fr>r a short rime' frhat it. and put it into your pocktr. You should rake grear care ntwr ro spit on your clothes.
during meals: the resmcnon on the habit applied only to mealtimes] or those of others If you notice saliva on the ground. you should immediately put
your foot adroitly on it. If you notice any on someones coat. it is not polite to make
it known: you should insttuct a senam ro remO\e it. If no sern1nt is present. you
should remove it yourself without being noticed. For good breeding consists m nor
bringing to people's anention anything that might offend or confuse them.
From Courcin, 1\'0111-ec111 trniti! ,fL, cizi!iti!, p. 273:

The custom we h,ffe just mentioned does not mean that most laws of this kind are J
immutable. And just as chere are many that have already changtd. I have no doubt that 1774
many ot these will likewise change in the fuwre From La Salle, Les Ri:gles de la hiwsec111ce et de la cirilite chrdtiwm (1774 edn), p 20.
Fr1nt!lr!). c..'Xtlll!f'lc it u dS flr:n:itfrd !o s/1it Ml the: gro!!nd
In chis edition the chapter "On Yawning, Spitting. and Coughing," which covers
to /JJ1! 1J11t" s .r)IJ/ r111 tl.h .1J1lftlm1 Tod;1) 1h:11 is :n1
four pages in rhe earlier edicions, has shrunk ro one page:
1 _,_
' ) Tht Ciz'ilizing Process

In church. 111 tht: houses of rhe great. and in all places where cleanliness reigns, you . n" mourh or hands, bur beside ic These prohibirions were repeated
shen clean1 "' - . . . . . . . . '. ,
should spir into your handkerchief Ir is an unpardonably gross habit of children to spit . . reorrped a tash10n m rhe co11rtu1s codes of manners rhar one c,1n 1magme
in so ste . -, ,, , . - d. . l . .
in the faces of their playmares. Such bad manners cannot be punished too severely; nor c encr of this insrance ot bad manners . The pressure ot me 1eva socieq
rhe rreq u . . . . . l.
are those who spit out of windows. on walls and on furoirure ro be excused racrice never became so srrong. nor rhe condmonmg so compellmg. t Mt
on r liis p - . .- . . - b . . l
. . r d from soC!al lite Here agam we see rhe difference er\\'een soCla
ir d1s<1ppea e . '
K ls in rhe medieval and rhe subsequent srages.
conrro Ir was demanded rlur
1859 In rhe sixreenth century. social pressure grew srronger. .
From The Hc1bits of G()l)c/ Sr;ciety, p . 256: be rrodden upon-ar leasr if ir contained purulence, said Erasmus. who
sputum . . . . _ . f .
. ihvws marked rhe rransit10nal siruar10n. And here agarn the use o <1
here <IS ' ' . . .
Spiering is at all rimes a disgusring habit l need say nothing more than-never doth was mentioned as a possible, nor a necessary, way of controllmg d11s habit.
indulge in it Besides being coarse and atrocious, it is l"<IJ bml fir the hMlth
which was slowly becoming more disrasreful
The next srep is shown clearly by Courtin's comment of 1672:
L it was permirred to spir on rhe ground before_ people of rank, ..md was sufhcient
1910 [ O
ne's foor on rhe spurum . Todav. rhar 1s an mdecency.
- . .
From Cabanes, 1\Iowrs i11times, p. 264: Similarly, we find in the Cizi!iti of 1714, intended for a wider audience:
''Conceal ir as much ,1s possible. and avoid soiling eirher persons _or .. rhelf
Have vou noticed d1,u today we relegate to some discreet corner what our farhers did . Ar rhe houses of rhe grear, one s1)its into one's handkerchief
nor hesirnre to display quire openly' cIor l1es. . ' ..
In 17 29, La Salle exrended rhe same precept ro all places "rhar are kept clean
Thus a certain intimate article of furnirure had a place of honour no one rhoughr
And he added rhar in church, too. people oughr ro ger used to using rheir
of concealing ir from view
The same is rrue of anorher piece of furniture no longer found in modern house- handkerchiefs and nor rhe floor.
holds. whose disappearance some will perhaps regret in rhis age of "bacillophobia": I Bv 1774 rhe whole pracrice. and even speaking abour it. had become
am referring to rhe spittoon cons.iderably more disrasrefuL By 1859 "spirring is ar all rimes a disgusring
habir" All rhe same, ar least wirhin rhe house. rhe spittoon, as a technical
implement for controlling this habir in keeping with rhe advancing of
Comments on the Quotations on Spitting
delicacv, srill had considerable imporrnnce in rhe ninereenth century. Cabanes, m

1. Like the orher groups of examples, the series of guotarions abour spirring 1910. reminds us rhar, like orher implements (cf. Example L), ir had slowly
shows very clearly rhar, since rhe ,fiddle Ages, behaviour has changed in a evolved from a prestige object ro a private urensil
parricular direcrion. In rhe case of spirring, the movement is unmistakably of rhe Graduallv rhis urensil too became <lispensable In largt secrions of \Vesrern
kind rhar we call "progress". Frequent spirring is even roday one of rhe socierv eve.n the need to spir from rime to rime seems to have disappeared
experiences thar many Europeans find particularly unpleasant when travelling in A srandard of delicacy and restraint similar to rhar which Della Casa
rhe Easr or in Africa, rogerher wirh rhe lack of "cleanliness". If rhey starred out knew onlv from his reading of ancient writers, where "whole peoples . lived so
with idealized preconceptions, rhey call rhe experience disappointing, and find moderarely and so honorably rhar rhey found spirring guHe unnecessary
their feelings on the "progress" of \Vesrern civilizarion confirmed. No more rhan (Example FJ. had been attained once more _
four centuries ago, rhis cusrom was no less widespread and commonplace in the 3. Taboos and resrrictions of various kinds surrounded rhe ejection ot saliva,
\Vesr, as rhe examples show. Taken rogerher, rhey give a particularly clear other namral functions, in very many societies, borh ''primirive'" ;md
demonsrrmion of rhe way in which rhe civilizing process rook place. "civilized" \Vhar disringuishes such prohibitions is rhe facr rbar in rhe former
2 . The examples show a movement with the following stages: The Larin as rhev were alwavs maintained bv fear of orher beings, even if only imaginary ones-
well as rhe English, French and German guides ro table manners bear wimess to is, bv exre.rnal in the larrer rhey were rransformed more
rhe facr rhar in rhe Middle Ages ir was not only a cusrom bur also clearly a or less into internal consrrainrs. The prohibired rendencies (e.g., the
generally felr need to spit frequently. Ir was also emirely commonplace in rhe rendency ro spir) partly dis<1ppeared from consciousness under rbe pressure of this
courrs of the feudal lords. The only major restraint imposed was rhat one should internal resrrainr or. as ir may also be called. rhe pressure from rhe "superego"
nor spir on or over rhe table bur under ir. Nor should one spir into rhe washbasin and rhe '"habir of foresight" And whar remained in the consciousness as

mmi\arion was anxic:r1 in rc:larion ro some long-rerm consideration . So in our . .. co a scientific rhtory. to an argument that applies to all people equally.
rime rht fear of spini1:g. and rhe feelings of shame and repugnance in which it non ' ss of their rank and srarns. The pnmary - -
1mpu lse tor- t I11s
- s low rtpress10n
rei:.:ardl e. _ . .
is expressed. rake rhe form nor uf magical influencts. of gods. spirits or demons :- clr-n1rion rhat was formerly suong and w1des1)reacl dnes not come trom
ot an tr1 ' . - . - . '-- . . 1
bur of rhe more exactly circumscribed. more clear!) rransparem and lmv-like . I undersrandll1'' of rhe causes of illness. but-as \\tll be. d1scusseo 111 more-
rauon.i c .
picrnre of specific clistases and their "pathogens" Bur rhe series of examples also 1 1-t"r-from chants in rhe war ]JeO]Jle l!\e together. II1 rhe srrucrnre of
den11 d. L c . ._
shows H:ry clearly that rational undersrnncling of rhe origins of ctrrain diseases
of the clanger of sputum as a carrier of illness. was neither the primary cause of -
,L The modification of the manner of spitting. and hnally the more or less
fear and repugnance nor rht motor of civilization. die clrivin!!; force: of tllF
c - cornp let ,,. _ el 1-n1ination of the netd for it, is a '-good
- exam1Jlt of rhe malleabilin of
changes in behaYiour \Vith regarJ to spitting.
econom1 of humc1ns. le may be: rhar rhis need has been compensated
rhe " . . -
Ar first. and for a long period. rhe retention of spirrlt was expressly bv others (e.g , the need to smoke) or \\-eakened by certain changes of diet. But
discouraged To suck back salirn is "unmannerly". says Erasmus (Example E). it. is certain that rhe degree of suppression which has been possible in this case
A.nd as late as I 29. La Salle says: "You should nor abstain from spitting" is not possible with regard to many other drives. The inclination to spit. like
!Example IJ For centuries rhere was not rhe faintest indication of "hygienic that of looking ar rhe sputum. mentioned in rhe examples, is replaceable: it now
reasons" for rhe prohibitions and resrricrions with which the expression of the
111 ,111 ifests itself clearly only in children or in dream analyses, and its suppression
drive to spit was surrounded. Rational uoclersrnncling of rht clanger of saliva was is seen in the specific form of laughter rhat overcomes us when "such things .. are
attained only at a very lace srage of the change in behaviour, and rhus in a stnse spoken of openlr _
rerrospecrively, in the nineteenth century. And even then. rhe reference ro what Orhtr needs are nor replaceable or malleable to rhe same extent. And this
is indelicate and disgusting in such behaviour still appeared separarelv, alon!!;side raises tht question of rhe limit of the rransformabiliry of rhe psychic economy.
the reference ro its ill effects on health: "Besides being coarse and is \Vithour doubt. it possesses specific regularities that may be called "narnral"
n:ry bad for rhe health". says Example K of spitting The historical process modifies it within rhese limits. The degree to which
It is well to establish once and for all rhar something which we know to be human life and behaviour can be moulded by historical processes remains ro be
harmful to health by no means necessarih arouses fetlin!!;s of distaste or shame dererminecl in derail. Ar any rate. all this shows once again how natural and
And connrsely. somerhing that these feeling's need nor be at ali hisrorical processes interacr almost inseparably The formation of feelings of
detrimental to health. People who eat noisily or with their hands nowadavs shame and revulsion and advances in rhe threshold of repugnance art both at
arouses feelings of extreme distaste wirhour there being the slightest fear once oarnral and historical processes. These forms of feeling are maoifesrarions of
their heald1 But neither rhe thought of someone reading by bad light nor the human nature under specific social conditions, and they react in their rnrn on rhe
idea of poison gas. for example, arouses remorelv similar feelings of distaste or socio-historical process as one of its elements
shame. alrhough rht harmful consequencts for health are obvious. Thus. disgusr Ir is difliculr ro see \1-hether rhe radirnl conrraposirion of "civilization" and
and nausea ar the ejection of sali,-a intensified. and the taboos SL1rroundio'g it "nature" is more than an expression of rht tensions of rhe "civilized" psyche
increased. long before people had a clear idea of rht transmission of certain ge;ms itself, of a specific imbalance wirhin psychic life produced in the recent stage of
by saliva. \Vhar first aroused and increased the distasteful feelings ,. and r;stric- \Vestern civilization . At any rare, rhe psychic life of "primiriw" peoples is no less
rions was a transformation of human relationships and dependencies. "Earlier it historically (i.e. socially) stamped than that of "civilized" peoples. ewn if the
was permitted w yawn or spit openly: today. a person of rank would be shocked former are scarcely aware of their own history. There is no zero point in the
it". Example: G says. in effect. That is the kind of reason rhar people first gave historicity of human development, just as there is none in the sociality, the social
lor increased restraint. Motivation from social consideration existed long before imerdependence among people. In both "primitiw" and "civilized" peoples,
motivation from scientific insight. The king required rhis restraint as a "mark of there are socially induced prohibitions and resrricrions, rogerher with rheir
respect .. from his courtiers. Io court circles this sign of rheir dependence, the psychological counterparts. socially induced anxieties. pleasure and displeasure,
growing compulsion to be restrained and self-controlled. became also a "mark of distaste and delight. It is, therefore, at least nor entirely clear what is meant
distinction" that was immediately imitated below and disseminated wirh the rise when rhe former standard, that of so-called "primiti\es". is contrasted simply as
of broader strata.. And here, as io rhe preceding civilization-curves. rhe admoni- "natural" ro rhe hisrorical-social standard of "civilised" people . So far as rhe
tion "Thar is not clone". wirh which restraint. fear. shame and repugnance were psychological functions of humans are concerned, natural and hisrorical processes
inculcated. was connected only very late. as a result of a certain "democrariza- work indissolubly rogerher.
Thl Cizili:::illg Pmo.:_i-.r
Ch(/i!gt.r in thr Buhariom of the Swt!crr UjJjJer Clt1sses in the \Fest 137

VIII Ifrou share a bed wirh a comrade, lie quiecly: do nor toss wirh your body. for chis can
l;iy bare or inconvenience your companion by pulling away rhe blankets
On Behaviour in the Bedroom
Examples c
A From Des honnes 1i1ot1trs tt hon nest es contenm1c<J. by Pierre Broe (Lyons, 15 5 5 ):
Fifteenth centurv
Stam />!!er i11 m:mam, an English book of table If you share a bed wirh anocher man. keep srill
manners from rhe period
l-!63-83 (A Boole ol - PrccudwC<.. London , 1869. p. 63): 1cike care nor rn annoy him or expose yourself by abrupt movemencs

215 And if chac ic forren so bv And if he is asleep. see char you do nor wake him
nyghc or Any cyme -
Thar you scha!l lye wirh Anv man
char is beuer than vou .
Spyre hym whar syde .of rhe bedd 1729
char most besc will ples hvm. From La Salle, Lu Rl:gkr de la hiemliance et de la ciri!ite dm!tie1111e (Rauen, 1729),
:\nd lye you on chi rnrher si:de, p. 55:
for rhar is rhi prow;
Ne go you nor rn bede before boc You ought neicher ro undress nor go ro bed in rhe presence of any ocher person
rhi becrer cause rhe, Above all. unless you ace married. you should nor go to bed in che presence of <Hwone
For rhac is no currasy, rhus seys of che ocher sex
docrour paler le is srill less permissible for people of opposite sexes rn sleep in rhe same bed, unless
chey are very young children
223 A.nc1 when you arte in rhi bed.
If you are forced by unavoidable necessirr co share a bed wirh another person of che
chis is curcasy,
same sex on a journey, ir is nor proper rn lie so near him char you disrurb or ewn couch
Srryghr downe rhar vou he wirh
fore and bond. , . him: and ir is srill less decenc rn pm your legs berween chose of che ocher.
Ir is also wry improper and impolite co amuse yourself wirh ralk and chacrer.
\vhen ze hme calkyd whar ze
\\?hen you gee up you should nor leave rhe bed uncovered. nor pm 1our nightcap on
wyll, b:.d h} m gode nyghc in bye
a chair or anywhere else where ir can be seen
For char is grer curras 1 so schall
thou understand ,,. -
If vou share rnur bed 1 l1 .
- _
t- l l
'tr a man o 11g 1er rank, ask him which side he prefers. Do 177-4
nor go co bed before your superior imires you: char is nor courteous, savs Dr Paler.
Then lie down srra1ghr and bid him goodnight. From La Salle, L:s Rl:gles de lt1 hit:i!SldilCe et de la ciri!itt! clm!tiu111e ( l 77-:i edn) p. 31:

Jr is a srrange abuse w make rwo people of differenc sex sleep in rhe same room. And
if necessicy demands ic, you should make sme rhac rhe beds are aparr. and char modesty
dues not suffer in any way from this commingling" Only exrren1e indigence can exct;se
From De . Ft t !
w1 ta i: i11om111 /111tri im11, by Erasmus, ch . 12, "On rhe Bedchamber .. : chis pracrice
If you are forced to share a bed with a person of rhe same sex. which seldom happens.
W'hen you undress. when you !(tr up. be mindful of m cl. . cl k
_ _ . o tSt}. an ta e care nor co you should maintain a srricr and 1igilanc modesty.
expose rn che eyes ot orhecs anything char morality and nature require co be concealed
\\ihen you have awakened and had sufticienc cime rn rest, you should gee our of bed
wirh firring modesty and never stay in bed holding conversations or concerning
:;: To focilirnr_e comprthtnsion. the o!J spelling is nor rer..,roJuced
text can b e tuun J B/j,,L rf p. 63 '' . The philolo,trica!ly accurare yourself with ocher marrers norhing more clearly indicates indolence and frivolity:
rhe bed is imended foe bodily resr and for nothing else
138 Th:: Cfri!i:i11g Prr;c.:.iS Classt.i i11 the \\'i-.11 139

Comments on the Examples ound rhelf behmds. runnmg from rheir houses through the long
decorous 1Y 'll -
t midd<l\' ro rhe barbs How many compltrely naked boys of ren. rwelve.
srre e(s 'l .. --
l The bedroom has btcomt ont of rht mosr "private' and "inrimart" areas of - - on 'lfld sixreen run beside rhem.. .
tourteL ' . . I
human lift . Like mosr orhtr bodily funcrions, sleeping has been increasingly This lack of inhibition disappt:cutd slowlv 1n the s1xreenrl: and more rapic ly
shifred behind the scents of social lift. The nuclear family remains as rlit . l evenreenrh c:ighrtenrh and ninereenrh cenruries, hrsr m rhe higher
J[1 [ it ' L '

legirimare. socially sanctioned enclave for rhis and many orhtr human function;. . nd much more slowlv in rht lower. Up ro rhen, the whole mode of lite.
classes ,1 . .
Irs \i_siblt and imisible walls wirhdraw rhe mosr "privare". "inrimare". unsup- l "reuer
Wl( 1 IL5 u '-
closeness of individuals. made rhe sight of rhe naked .
body, at
press1bly "animal .. as peers of human txisrtnct from rhe sight of ochers lpasr i n rlie 1)ro11er

more commonplace rhan m rhe hrsr
In medieval society this funcrion. roo. had nor betn rlms privariztd and "stages
o f. rlie n1odern 1"e '- c "\Ve reach the sur1Jrising conclusion",
. '- _ it has been said
stparared from rhe resr of social life. Ir was quire normal ro recei\e visirnrs in wirh reference ro Germany. "char rhe sight of roral nakedness was rhe
rooms wirh beds, and rhe beds themselves had a presrige value rtlared ro rheir everyday rule up ro rhe sixreemh cenrury.. Everyone und_ressecl complerely each
opultnct. Ir was \'try common for many people ro spend rhe nighr in rhe same evening bet.ore u"01.n" u
ro bed and likewise no clorhmg ,_
was \vorn m rhe
room: in rhe upper class, rhe master wirh his strvanr. rhe misrress wirh her maid irlis .. -, And rhis cerninlv a1J11lied nor onlv ro Germanv. People had a less
sream b ' '
or maids; in orher classes, even men and women in rhe same room.-_; and ofren inhibited-one mighr say a more childish-arrirude rowards rhe body, and ro
guesrs who were sraying ovtrnighr.-' manv of irs funcrions. Sleeping cusroms show rhis no less rhan barbing habirs.
.2. Those who did nm sleep in their clorhes undressed complerelr. In general . _',_'A special nighrdress slowly came inro use at roughly rht same rime as rht
people in lay sociery slepr naked. and in rhe monasric orders ei rher, fullr Ldressed fork and rhe handkerchief Like rhe or her "rools of civilizarion". it made irs way
or fully undressed according ro rht srricrness of rhe rules. The n;le of Sr rhrough Europe quire gradually And like rhem ir is a symbol of rhe decisive
Benedicr-daring back ar ltasr ro rhe sixrh cenrury-required members of rhe chang"e raking place at rhis rime in human beings. Sensiriviry rowards everyrhing
order ro sleep in dieir clorhes and even ro keep rheir btlrs on.' In rhe rwelfrh rhar came imo comacr wirh rhe body increased . Shame became arrachc:d ro
ctnrury, when rheir order became more prosperous and powerful and rhe asceric behaviour rhar had previously been free of such feelings. Thar psychological
consrrainrs less severe, rhe Cluniac monks were permirred ro sleep wirhout process which is already described in rhe Bible: "and rhey rhar rhey were
clorhes. The Cisrtrcians, when srriving for reform, rerurned ro die old Bene- naked and were ashamed"-rhar is. an advance of rhe shame trom1er. a rhrusr
dictine rule. Special nighrclorhes are never menrioned in rhe monastic rules of wwards grearer resrrainr-was repeared here. as so often in rhe course of hisron
rhis period, srill less in die dornmenrs. epics or illusrrarions lefr behind bv The lack of inhibirion in showing oneself naked disappeared. as did rhar in
secular sociery. This is also rrue for women. If anyrhing, ir was unusual ro performing bodily funcrions before orhtrs. And as this sight became less
clorhing on in bed. Ir aroused suspicion rhar one might have some bodilv commonplace in social life, rhe depiction of rhe naked body in arr rook on a new
defter-for what orher reason should rht body bt hiddtn'-and in facr rhi,s significance. J\Iort than hirherro ir became a dream image. an emblem of wish-
usually was rhe case. In rhe RrJ111:m d, la for example, we hear rhe serrnnr fL;llilmenr. To use Schiller's terms. it became "semimenral". as againsr the
ask her misrress in surprise why she is going robed in her chemise, and rhe Lurer "m1ive" form of earlier phases.
explains it is because of a mark on her body.-" [n rhe courr socierv of France-where gerring up and going ro bed, ar leasr in
This greartr lack of inhibirion in showing the naked body, and rhe posirion of the case of grear lords and ladies. was incorporated direcdy inro social life-
rht shame fronrier represenrecl by ir. are seen parricularh clear!\- in barhin" nighrdress, like e\erv orher form of clothing appearing in rhe communal life of
manners. Ir has been noted with surprise in larer ages rhar .knighr; were waired rook on rep;esenrarional funcrions as ir developed This changed when.
on in rheir barhs by women: likewise, rheir nighr drink was ofren broughr ro wirh rhe rise of broader classes, gerring up and going ro bed became more
rheir beds by women. Ir seems ro han: been common pracrice, ar leasr in rhe imimare and were displaced from life in rhe wider sociery inro rhe inrerior of rhe
rowns. ro undress ar home before going ro rhe barhhouse. "How ofren", savs an nuclear familv.
observer, "rhe fiuher, wearing nothing bur his breeches, wirh his naked and The gener,;rions following \\/oriel \'Var I, in rheir books on eriquerre, looked
children, runs rhrough rhe srreers from his house ro rhe barbs How manv back with a cerrain ironr-and nor wirhour a fainr shudder-ar rhis period.
rimes have I seen girls of ren, twelve, fourreen, sixreen and eighreen yea;s when rhe exclusion of funcrions as sleeping. undressing and dressing was
enrirely naked exctpr for a shorr smock, ofren rorn. and a ragged barhing gown enforced wirh special se\eriry. rhe mere menrion of chem being blocked by
ar from and back' \Virh rhis open at rht feer and held relatively heavy prohibirions An English book on manners of 19.'>6 says. perhaps
140 Tht Cit'i!i:::ing Prrietss i11 the Beh11l'ii!i!!' iJf the Sem!ar Uj1f!er C!mses in th1: \Y'i::st 1-i l

with exaggeration,_ but certainly not entirely without justification: 'Dur- ro hear a moral demand, which required cerrain behaviour not out of
mg the Genteel Era before the \Var, camping was the only way by which nsiderarion for orhers but for its own sake: "\\'lhen you undress, when you get
respectable wrirers might approach the subject of sleep. In those days ladies and co be mindful of modesty." Bm the idea of social custom, of consideration for
gentlemen did not go to bed at night-tlky retired. How rhey did it was up, l l cl l l
or htrs,. was still [Jreclommanc - The comrasr to t 1e ater _ per10 1s parncu ar ,.
nobody s busmess. An author who thought differently ,,oulc! have found himself
cl ea1. ''t. '"e
" remember that these prece1JtS, even those ot Dr Paler (Example A),
excluded from the circulating library... - 9 Here, too, there had been a certain were dearly directed to people who wem to bed undressed. Thar scrangers should
reacnon relaxation since the war._ Ir was clearly connected with the growing sleep in the same bed appeared, to judge by the manner in which che question_
mob1l1ty ot society, w1rl1 the spread ot sport, hiking and travel. and also with the w;is discussed, neicher unusual nor in any way improper even at che time of
relanvely separation of young people from the family community. The Erasmus.
from the nightshirt to pyjamas-that is, to a more "socially present- In rhe guorntions from che eighteenth century this tendency was not
able sleepmg cosmme-was a symptom of this. This change was not. as is continued in a straight line, partly because it was no longer confined predom-
supposed, simply a retrogressi\'t movement, a recession of the feelings inantly to rhe upper stratum. But in the meantime, even in other srrarn, it had
ot sham_e delicacy, a release and decontrolling of drives, bur the develop- clearly become less commonplace for a young person to share his bed with
ment .of a torm that fits both our advanced standard of shame and the specific another: "If you are forced by unavoidable necessiry ro share a bed with another
s1nwt1on m which present-day social lite places individuak Sleep is no longer so person . on a journey, it is not proper ro lie so near him rhat you disrnrb or
1nr1mare and segregated as in the preceding stage. There are more simarions in even much him, wrices La Salle (Examplt DJ And: "You oughc neither to
which people are exposed to the sight of strangers sleeping, undressing or undress nor go ro bed in rhe presence of any ocher person ....
As a result. nightclothes Oike underwear) have been developed and In rhe 177-i edition, details were again avoided wherever possible. And the
transformed in such a way that the wearer need not be "ashamed .. when seen in tone is appreciably stronger "If you are forced to share a bed wich a person of the
such sima:ions by others. The nightclothes of the preceding phase aroused same sex, which seldom happens, you should maintain a strict and vigilant
f_edmgs ot shame and embarrassment precisely because they were relativelv modtscr" (Example E). This was the rone of moral injunction. EYen tO give a
formless . They were nor intended to be seen by people ourside rhe famih reason .had become distasteful to the adult. The child was made by the
On_ the one hand, the nightshirt of the nineteemh cencury marked an in threatening rone to associate this situation wich danger. The more "natural" che
which shame and embarrassment with regard to the exposure of one's own bodv standard of delicacy and shame appeared to adults and che more che civilized
were so advanced and internalized chac bodily forms had ro be entirelv covered resrraim of bodily urges was taken for granted, the more incomprehensible ic
even when alone or in rhe closesc family circle; on che other hand, ir
charac- became to adulcs that children do nor have this delicacy and shame by "nature".
terized an epoch in which the "intimate" and "private" sphere. because it was so The children necessarily encroach again and again on the adult chresholcl of
sharply severed from che resc of social life, had nor w any great exrt:nc been repugnance. and-since chey are noc yet adapted-they infringe the taboos of
socially articulated and patterned. This peculiar combination of strondv intern- society, cross the adult shame fromier, and penetrate emotional clanger zones
alized, compulsive feelings of repugnance, or moral in-, with a far-reachin.l!: lack of which rhe adults themse!Yes can only control with difficulty. In this situation che
social patterning w-ith respect to che "spheres of intimacy" was characr;risric of adulrs do not explain che demands they make on behaviour They are unable to
nineceemh-cenmry society and not a little of our own . "' do so adeguarely. They are so conclirioned rhar the\ conform to the social
-i The examples give a rough idea of how sleep, becoming slowh- more standard more or less auromatically Any other behaYiour, any breach of the
intimate and private, was separated from most ocher social and !;ow rhe prohibitions or restraints prevailing in their society means clanger, and a
precepts given to young people rook on a specificallv moralistic underrone with devaluation of the restraints imposed upon chemselves. And the peculiarly
the advance of feelings of shame . In the medieval .quotation (Example A! the emotional undertone so often associated with moral demands, the aggressive and
restraint demanded of young people was explained by consideration clue to others, threatening severity with which chey are frequently upheld, reflects the danger in
respect for social superiors. Ir says, in effect, "If vou share vour bed with a becrer which any breach of the prohibitions places che unstable balance of all those for
man, ask him which side he prefers, and do nor to bed he invites vou, for whom the standard behaviour of sociecy has become more or less "second nature"
that is not courteous." And in che French imitacion ofJohannes Sulpicius Pierre These attitudes are symptoms of the anxiety aroused in adults whenever the
Broe (Example Cl, the same attitude prevailed: "Do nor annov \our nei,"hbour structure of their own drives, and wich it their own social existence and the social
when he has fallen asleep: see rhat you do noc wake him up, .. : In we order in \vhich it is anchored. is even remotely threatened

A whole series of specific contliccs berwetn adulrs-above all parems who art iris an exuemel1 dtlicact and difficulc rask to tnligh'.e_n growing girls and boys
for rhe mosr parr licrle prtpartd for rhe rnsks of condirioning-and children.
boITT Cll emsehes and whar gots on around chem. Ihe exrem w which chis

contlicrs which appear wirh rht adrnnce of rhe sha111e-fronritr and rhe ,. cin ( F from beinu self-e\idenr is a furrher resulr of rhe civilizing process
s1wan ' " "' .. . . .. . L ..
disrnnce berween adulrs and children. and \\hich art rherefort largely founded ]-- 1x:rcti\'td if rl1e behaviour or people: 111 a d1Herenr srage IS observed 1 he
.s on.'
1 L

rhe srrucrure of civiliztd socitn- irself. are explained by rhis siruarion. The .-_
race 0 ic Er1sn1us's rc:nowned Colloc111ir:s is a .__,
good exarn11le.
siruarion irself has been undersrood only relarivtly recenrly. firsr of all wirhin Erasmus discovered chac one of rhe works of his yomh had been published
small circles. esptcialh among professional educarors And only now. in rhe age wichour his permission in a corrupr form. wirh acldicions by orhtrs and parrly in
char has been called rht cenrury of rht child'. is rht realizarion rhar. in vic:w of d sc\le. Ht revised ir and 1x1blishtd ic himself under a nc:w ride: in 1522.
a 1.
DJ .
rhe increased disrnnce ber\veen rhem. children cannor behave like adulrs slowly . llrr1 u ic fdwi!icnillll co//oq11ir1u1111 ff,rmul:.u l!f1ll !1.n1t11111 dd
Q "' .
penerraring rhe family circle wirh appropriart educarional advice and l'r.,)'i!lll ttic1111 de! l iti:!IJJ instil11ei!dc1111
cions. In rht long precc:ding period. rhe more severe arrirude prnailed char He worked on chis rtxc. augmeming and improving ir. umil shorrly before his
moraliry and respecr for raboos should be presenr in children from rht firsr. This <leach Ir became whac ht had desired. nor only a book from which boys could
arrirucle cerrainlr cannor be: said ro han: disappeared roday learn a good Larin sryle, bur ont which could serve, as ht says in rht ride. w
The examples on behaviour in rht bedroom gin:, for a limirtd segmenr, a inrroduce chem ro lift. The Co!loqi!ils became one of rhe most famous and widely
cerrain imprtssion of how !are ir really was rhar rhe rendency ro adopr such read works of cheir rime:. As his crearise Du (il'i/itatr: 111om111 pmri/i;1111 did lacer.
arcirudts reached irs full developmcm in secular tducacion. diev wenr rhrough numerous edirions and rranslacions. And like ir. chc:y became
The lint of rhis deye]opmtnr scarcely nec:ds furrl1er tlucidarion. Hert. wo. in a s:l10olbook. a srandard work from which boys were c:ducared. Hardly anyrhing
much rht same way as wirh taring. rhe wall berween people. rhe rtstrvt. rhe "ives a more immediare impression of rhe change: in \Vesrc:rn sociery in rhe
tmorional barrier ertcrtd by cundirioning berwttn one body and anorher. has process of civilizarion rhan rhe cricicism ro which chis work was subjecred bv
grown conrinuously. To share a bed wirh ptople ourside che family circle. wich chose who scill found rhemselvts obliged w concern themselves wirh ir in rhe
srrangers. is made more and more tmbarrassing Unless necessiry dicraces ninereemh ctnrury. An influenrial German pedagogue, Von Raumer, commenrs
orherwise. ir becomes usual tYen wichin che family for every person w han, rheir on ir as follows in his Gc.1chicht1: du- Piidt1gogik (Hisrory of pedagogy):-'c
own bed and tirrnlly-in rht middle and upper classes-rheir own btdroom.
Children are rrained early in chis disrancing, rhis isolacion from orhc:rs. wich all How could such a book be imroduced in coundess schools' \Vhar had boys rn do with
rht habirs and experitnces rhar rhis brings wirh ic.. Only if we set how narural these satyrs' Reform is a marrer for marnre men. \\?har sense were boys supposed ro
ir seemed in che .i\fidcllt Ages frir srrangers and for children and aclulrs w share make of dialogues on so many subjects of which they undersrand nothing: conversa-
a bed can we appreciare \\hat a fundamenral change in inrerptrsonal relarionships tions in which teachers are ridiculed. or between rwo women about rheir husbands.
and bthaYiour is expressed in our manner of li\ing ..And we n.:cognize how far berween a suitor and a girl he is wooing. or the LullOlJUY '"AJolesccntis et Scurti"

from self-evidenr ic is rhac bed and body should form such psychological dangtr (Young men and prosrinm:sL This last dialogue recalls Schiller's disrich enrided
'"Kunsrgriff' <The knackl: "It you would pltase both rhe worldly and godly alike. painr
zones as chey do in che mosr recenr phase of ci\ilizarion.
chem the joys of rhe flesh. but painr rhtm che devil as \\ell. .. Erasmus here paints
t!eshh lust in the basest wa\ and then adds something which is supposed ro edify Such
IX a bm;k is n:commended b;-
the Doctor Theologiae to an eighr-year-olcl bm-. rhar he
might be imprmed by readini; it
Changes in Attitude towards the Relations
between Men and Women The work was indeed dedicared w the young son of Erasmus's publisher. and
rhe farhtr clc:arly felr no qualms ar priming ir.
1. The: feeling of shame surrounding human sexual relarions has changed and 2 . The book mer with harsh cricicism as soon as ir appeared . Bur rhis was nor
bc:come noriceably srronger in rht civilizing process. 0 ; This manifts;s irself direcced chiefly ac its moral qualiries . The primary rarger was the "imelltcrnal",
panicularly clearly in the difficulry experienced by adulrs in rhe more: recenr rbe man who was neither an orrhodox Proresram nor an orrhodox Cacholic. The
srages of civilizarion in miking abour these relarions ro children. Bur rod:n chis Cacholic Church, above all, foughr against rhe Colloq11iu, which cerrninly conrain
difficulty appears almosr narural Ir seems rn be explained almosr b\ occasional \irulenr acrncks on Church insrirntions and orders. and soon placed ir
reasons alone rhar a child knows noching of rhe relations of rht and Lehar on rhe Index.
144 Thi: Cil'ilizi11g Proas.r

But against chis muse bt stt tht txtrnordinary success of rht Colloq!!its and, . of rhe humanises writings, and parricularlv of chose of Erasmus, is
aove l t} _ .
abovt all. their introduction as a schoolbook.. "From 1526 on", says Huizinga in . l, chat chev do not contorm to the standard of clerical society but are
preose 1 . _ .
his Eras11111s (London. 192-f. p. 199). "chert was for two (tntunes an almost . n from che srandpornr ot, and for. secular society.
wntte .
uninterrur,ced scream oi editions and translations ... The humanises were represenrativts of a movtmenr wh!Ch sought co release
In this period. therefore. Erasmus's treatise muse have remained a kind of . L n lirl"Li'1''e
rne au , o c-
from its confinement within the ecclesiastical rradirion and
. .
standard work for a very considerable number of people. How is the difference nuke ic a languaue of secular societv. at least ot the secular upper
spI1ere, and ' . o . _ . . _ _ _
berwetn its viewpoint and that of the nineteenth-century critic co be understood? chiss. Not rhe lease imporrnnr sign of the change lI1 the srrucrnre_ of \vesrern
In chis work Erasmus does indeed speak oi many things which with the . which has alreadv. been seen from so many other aspens lI1 chis
soc1et}, _ study, was
<ldvance of civilizacion have been increasingly concealed from the eyes of children, the fact rhar its secular consrirnencs now felt an increasing _need tor a secular.
<rnd which in the nineteenth century would under no circumstances ha\e been scholarly literature. The humanises were the executors of this change. the
used as reading matter for children in the way Erasmus desired and expressly functionaries of chis need of rhe secular upper class. In their works the
affirmed in the dedication co his six- or eight-year-old godson. As the nineceenth- word once again drew close co worldly social life. Experiences from chis lite
century critic stressed, Erasmus presents in the dialogues a young man wooing a found direct access to scholarly lireramre This. coo. was a line in rhe great
girl. He shows a woman complaining about the bad behaviour of her husband. movement of "civilization" And it is here that one of the keys to the "revival"
And there is even a conversation between a young man and a prostitme. of antiquity will have ro be sought.
Nevertheless. these dialogues bear witness. in exactly the same way as De Erasmus on ct gavt Yery trenchant expression co this process prtcisel y in
c"iz'ilitaft 111or11111 p11c;i/i11111, ro Erasmus's delicacy in all questions relating co the defending che Coll{Jq11ies: ''As Socrates brought philosophy from heaven ro earth.
regulation of the life of drives. even ii they do not entirely correspond to our own 50
I have led philosophy ro games and banguers," he says in rht notes De !!ti!ita!l
standard. Measured by the srnndard oi medieval secular society. and even by that co!!oq 11ium111 char he appended to the Co!l{Jt/lties (165 5 tdn, p. 668) For this reason_
of the secular society of his own rime, they even embody a very considerable shift these writings may be correcdy regarded as representing the standard ot
in the direction of the kind of restraint of drive impulses which the nineteenth behaviour of secular society. no matter how much their particular demands for a
century was to justify above all in the form oi morality. restraint of drives and moderation of behaviour may have transcended this
Certainly. the young man who woos the girl in rhe colloquy "Proci et puellae" srandard and. reprtsenced in anciciparion of the furnre. an ideal.
(Courtship) expresses very openly what he wants of her He speaks of his lo\e for In De 11ti!itate m!loq!!iomm, Erasmus says with regard to the dialogue "Proci er
htr \vhen she resists, he cells her char she has drawn his soul half out of his body. puellae" mentioned above: "I wish chat all suitors were like the one I depict and
He cells her char ir is permissible and right to conceive children . He asks her to conversed in no ocher way when entering marriage."
imagine how fine it will be when he as king and she as gueen rule o\er their \Vhat appears to rht ninereench-ctncury obsen-er as che "basest depiction of
children and sen-ams. !This idea shows n:ry clearly how rhe lesstr psychological lusr". what even by rht prtsenr swndard of shame must be veiled in silence
distance betwetn adults and children very often wenr hand in hand with a greater particularly before children, appeared co Erasmus and his contemporaries who
social distance ) Finally rhe girl gives way to his suiL She agrees to become his helped co disseminate chis work as a model conversation. ideally suited to sec an
wife. Bur she preserves. as she says, rhe honour oi her maidenhood. She keeps it example for the young. and still largely an ideal when compared with what W<IS
for him. she says. She en:n refuses him a kiss. Bur when he does nor desist from accrn1lly going on around them.''
asking for one. she laughingh cells him chat as she has. in his own words, drawn -i The ocher dialogues mentioned bv Von Raumer in his polemic present
his soul half our of his body. so that he is almost dead. she is afraid char with a similar cases. The who about her husband is instructed that
kiss she might draw his soul completely our of his body and kill him she will have to change her own behaviour, then her husband's will change. And
5 As has been mentioned, Erasmus was occasionally reproached by the the conversation of young man with tht prostitute ends with his rejection of
Church. even in his own lifetime. with the "indecent character" of the Co/loq11ies. her disreputable mode of life.. One muse hear chis conversation oneself ro
Bur. one should not be misled by chis inro drawing false conclusions about the understand what Erasmus wishes to set up as an example for boys. The girl.
acrnal srandard. particularly oi secular society. A rrearise directed against Lucrecia, has not seen rhe youth. Sophronius, for a long rime. And she clearly
Erasmus's Colloq!!i.:s from a consciously Catholic position, about which more will invirts him to do what he has come to rhe house to do. But he asks whether she
be said lacer. does not differ in the least from the Colloq11ies so far as unveiled is sure char they cannot bt seen. whether she has nor a darker room. And when
rtiertnces tO sexual matters are concerned. Its author, coo. \Vas ,1 humanist. The she leads him co a darker room he again has scruples. Is she really sure rhat no
146 147

one can see chem' "No one can see or hear us, noc even a fly." she says. "\X!hy do uncertain. in Erasmus's Colloqilid. "whether one is listening ro a Christian or a
you hesitate'" But rht young man asks: "Nor even God' Nor even the angels'"* heathen" And in later evaluations of this opposing work from a strictly Catholic
And then he begins to convert her with all rhe ans or dialectics. He asks whether carnp rhe same phenomenon appears." Ir will suffice ro introduce the work as ir
she has many enemies, whether it would nor please her to annoy her enemies. was reflected in a judgement from 1911 '"
\X!ould she nor annoy her enemies by giving up her life in this house and
In Morisorns girls. maidens, and women play a srill greater rolt rhan in Erasmus. In a
becoming an honourable woman' And finally he convinces her. Ht will secretly
lari.;t number of dialogues rhey are rht sole speakers. and rheir convtrsarions. which
rake a room for her in rhe house of a respectable woman. he will find a pretext ev;n in rhe firsr and second books are by no means always quire harmless, ofren revohe
for her to leave the house unseen. And at first he will look after her in rhe last r\\o:'- around such risky marrers rhar we can only shake our heads and
However "immoral" the presentation of such a situation (in a "children's ask: Diel rht stern Morisorns wrire chis for his son' Could he be so sure char rhe boy
book", of all places) must appear to an observer from a later period. it is not would really only read and srnch rhe lacer books when ht had reached rhe age for which
difficult to understand rhar. from rhe standpoint of a different social srnndard rhe, were intended? Admirredly. we should nor forger char rhe sixreenrh century knew
and a different srrucrnre of feelings. 1r could appear highly "moral .. and lirrit of prudery. and frequently enough presented irs scholars wirh material in rheir
exemplary. exercise books char our pedagogues would gladly do wirhom. Bur another question!
The same line of development, the same difference in srnndards. could be How did i\Iorisows imagine rhe use of such dialogues in practice' Boys. yomhs and
men could never use as a model for speaking Larin such a conversation in which rhere
demonstrated by any number of examples. The observer of the nineteenth and, ro
arc only fcmalt: speakers Therefore has nor i\Iorisows. no berrer rhan rhe despised
some extent. even of rhe rnentierh century confronts the models and condition-
Erasmus. lose sighr of rht didacric purpose of rhe book'
ing precepts of the pasr with a certain helplessness. And until we come to see
char our own threshold of repugnance. our own structure of feelings. have The question is nor difficult to answec
developed-in a quite specific order-and are continuing to develop. it remains 5. Erasmus himself nevtr "lost sight of his didactic purpose" His commentary
indeed almost incomprehensible from the present standpoim how such dialogues De 11ti!i!dte col!oq11irmm1 shows this quire unequivocally. In it he makes explicit
could be included in a schoolbook or deliberately produced as reading marcer for what kind of didactic purpose was attached to his "conversations" or, more
children. But chis is precisely why our own standard. including our attitude to exactly. what he wanted to convey to the young man" On the conversarion of rhe
children, should be understood as something which has developed. young man with the prosrirure, for example, ht says: "\'Vhar could I have said
More orthodox men than Erasmus did the same as he. To replace the Co//r;q11ics, rhar would have been more effective in bringing home to rhe young man rhe
which were suspected of heresy. other dialogues were written, as already men- need for modesty, and in bringing girls our of such dangerous and infamous
tioned. by a strict Catholic. They bear the ride Joht!i111iJ 1\fo1 isori 111edici houses'" No, he never lost sight of his pedagogical purpose; he merely had a
lihri q11c1t11111-. t1d Constantim1111 jilimll <Bast!. 1549) They art !iktwise clifrerent standard of shame. He wanted ro show the young man rhe world as in
wrinen as a schoolbook for boys, sinct. as the author Morisorns says, one is often a mirror; ht wanted to teach him what muse be avoided and whar was conducino
w a tranquil life: "In senili colloquia quam mulra velm in speculo exhibentur.
Tht: tt:Xt of this cxctrpt from the dialuc;ue is as follows: guae, vel fugienda sunt in vira. ve! viram reddunt rranquillam!"
:-.t iP111u 1:--.;ti :--: ?\ondum hie locus ml hi \'idetur saris secretus
The same intention undoubtedly also underlay rhe conversations of J\forisotus,
uuzrTL\: l"ndl' isre no\"us pudor? Est mihi museion."' 1 ubi n:puno mundum meum. locus adto and a similar attitude appeared in many other educational writings of the rime.
obscurus, ur vix l',L;"o tc visura sim. aur tl mt Thty all set om ro "introduce rhe boy to life". as Erasmus pm ir. 8 ' Bur by this
:-.tiP11.: Circumspice rimas omnts. they meant the life of adults. In later periods there was an increasing tendency
uT : ?\e musca quidem. me<.1 lux, Quid cuncraris?
ro tell and show children how rhey ought and ought nor to behave. Here they
fallt:mus htic oculos Dci?
u c: Nt:quaquam: ilk perspicir omnia were shown, by introducing chem ro life. how adults ought and ought nor ro
.:-OP!J: Er behave. This was rhe difference, And one did nor behave here in rhis way, there
in rhar, as a result of theoretical reflection. For Erasmus and his contemporaries
'-< lPH: Thi.s pL!ce doe:m t StT:11 secrt:t tnough to mt Ll"( : H(m come} ou fl so b.1shful all Jt oncL"?
ic was a matter of course to speak ro children in this way" Even though
\Vt!L comt w my privart dressing room Ir s so dark wt shall scarctl} Sl'l" each orher there :-0P1r.:

Examint tn:ry chink uc : Then. . s nor a single chink Is rhert nobody ntar rn us: UT.:
subservient and socially dependent, boys lived from an early age in the same
0;or su much as a fl;.. m;. dt;iresr. \\'"h;. you hesirnring? Can we escape thl e;.c ofGud here? social sphere as adults. And adults did nor impose upon themselves either in
u< : Of course not: lw Sl'.t:.:i cYc.:r;.thing :--c1Pil.: And the anp:ds: anion or in words rhe same degrte of restraint with regard ro the sexual life as
The Cil'ilizi11g Proc.:s.r Chc111gcs i11 the Bdh1l'io11r of the Semlar Uj1pu Clc1ssc.r in the \Vest 1-!9

c eeches at unin:rsities In 1500 a Master of Arts at Heidelberg spoke "De fide

later In keeping wirh rhe different srnre of restraint of feelings produced in rhe
individual by rhe structure of human relations, rhe icb1 of srricdy concealing these !ererricum in suos amarores .. (On rhe fidelity of courtesans ro their paramours).
drives in secrecy and intimacy was largely alien ro adults themselves. Ail chis made another De fide concubim1rum" (On rhe fidelity of concubines), a third "On the
rhe disrnnce between rhe beha\ioural and emotiom1l standards of adults and monopoly of the guild of swine ... or "De generibus ebriosorum er ebriemre
1 .. sq
children smaller from rhe ourser. \x/e see again and again how important it is for viranda
an undersranding of the earlier psychic constitution and our own to observe the ,;\ncl exactly the same phenomenon is apparent in many sermons of the time;
increase of chis distance, rhe gradual formation of rhe peculiar segregated area in rhere is no indication chat children were excluded from chem . This form of
which people gradually came to spend rhe first twelve, fifteen, and now almosr cxrramariral reh1tionship was certainly disapproved of in ecclesiastical and many
twenty years of their lives. The biological development of humans in earlier secular circles. But the social prohibition was not yer imprinted as a self restraint
rimes will nor have taken a very different course from today. Only in relation ro in individuals to the extent that it was embarrassing even to speak about ir in
chis social change can we berrer understand the \vhole problem of "growing up" public. Society had not yet outlawed every utterance that showed rlwt one knew
as it appears roday, and with ir such special problems as char of rhe "infantile anything abour such things.
residues .. in the personality structure of grown-ups. The more pronounced This difference becomes even clearer if one considers the position of prostitutes
difference between rhe dress of children and adults in our rime is only a in medieval rowns. As is the case roday in many societies outside Europe, they
particularly visible expression of chis development. Ir, roo, was minimal at had rheir own very definite place in the public life of the medieval town. There
Erasmus's rime and for a long period thereafter. were rowns in which they ran races on festival clays. They were frequently sent
6. To an observer from more recent rimes, ir seems surprising char Erasmus in to welcome distinguished visitors. In 1438. for example, rhe prorocols of the ciry

his Cd/oq11ie.r should speak ar all ro a child of prostitutes and rhe houses in which accounts of Vienna read: "For the wine for the common women 96 Kreurzers.
they lived. In our phase of a civilizing process it seems immoral even ro Item, for the women who went ro meet the king, 96 Kreurzers for wine ... " Or
<lCknowledge rht existence of such institutions in a schoolbook. They certainly the mayor and council gave distinguished visitors free access to the brothel. In
exist as enclaves even in rhe society of rhe nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 143-i the Emperor Sigismund publicly thanked the city magisuate of Bern for
Bur the fear and shame wirh which rhe sexual area of rhe life of drives, like many purring the brothel free! y at the disposal of himself and his attendants for three
ochers, is surrounded from the earliest years, rhe .. conspiracy of silence .. observed This, like a banquet, formed part of the hospiraliry offered to high-
on such matters in social relations, are as good as complete . The mere mention ranking guests.
of such opinions and insrimtions in social life is forbidden, and references to The venal women formed within ciry life a corporation with certain rights and
them in rhe presence of children are a crime, a soiling of the childish mind, or obligations, like any other professional body. And like any other professiomtl
at least a conditioning error of the gra\est kind. group. rhey occasionally defended themselves against unfair competition. In
In Erasmus's time it was rnken equally for granted chat children knew of rhe 1500, for example, a number of chem went ro rhe mayor of a Germ<tn town and
existence of these instimrions. No one concealed them. Ar most thev were complained abour another house in which the profession ro which their house
warned about them. Erasmus did just thaL If we read only the pedagogicai books had the sole public rights was practised. The mayor gave them permission ro
of rhe rime, rhe mt>ntion of such social institutions can easily appear as an idea enter chis house; they smashed everything and bear the landlady. On another
emanating from an individual If we see how rhe children actually lived with occasion rhey dragged a competitor from her house and forced her to live in
adults, and how small was the wall of secrecy benveen adults and theirs
therefore also between adults and children, we comprehend that conversations In a word, their social position was similar ro that of the execurioner, lowly
like those of Erasmus and Morisorus relate di recd y to the standard of their times. and despised, bur entirely public and nor surrounded with secrecy. This form of
They could reckon wirh the fact that children knew abour all this: it was taken extramarital relationship between man and woman had nor yet been removed
for granted. They saw it as their task as educators to show children how they "behind the scenes" .
7 To a cerrnin extent, this also applied ro sexual relations in general, even
ought to conduce themselves in the face of such institutions .
Ir may nor seem ro amounr ro very much ro say char such houses were spoken marital ones. \'Vedding customs alone give us an idea of this. The procession inro
about quire openly at the universities. All the same, people generally went to the bridal chamber was led by the best men. The bride was undressed by the
university a good deal younger than today And ir illustrates rhe theme of this bridesmaids; she had ro rake off all finery. The bridal bed had ro be mounted in
whole chapter ro point our that rhe prostitute was a topic even of comic public rhe presence of witnesses if rhe marriage w<ls ro be rnlid They were "laid
150 The. Cizi!i2ing Prf;(crs 151

cogerher" u' "Once in bed .vou are riduh. wed" the Sa\in" went In rht lacer elf came rn console her and rn offer herself as i!odmorher ro the baby
. c
Queen l1ers . . . .
Middle Ages rhis cusrnm i:'radual!y changed w rhe extent rhar rhe couple was "ime wenr tunher: rht lirde c\.':Irl was 1)ressecl w sav who was rhe tarher
i\.11 d [ le 1 /:'' . ..
allowed ro lie on rhe bed in rheir clmhes . No doubr rhest cusrnms varied the child Finally. afrer a period of srrenuous rttlecnon. she reached rhe
somtwhar btrween classes and coumries. All rhe same. rhe old form was rerained 1- 10 n rhar ir could onlv be rht Kin\.': or rhe Counr de Guiche. since rhej
onel L, ,
in Li.ibeck. for example. up ro rhe firsr decade of rhe se\emeemh cenwry "' Even
,vere 1co c) 11 Jv two men who had 'l!iven
. ti --
htr a kiss."' Nobodv rook chis joke amiss
in the absolmisr sociery of France, bride and bridegroom were rnken rn bed bv Ir fell enrirely wirhin rhe exisring standard No one saw in ir a danger ro rht
rht guesrs. undressed. ,1nd given their nighrdress All rhis is symptomaric
ad<1p [.,r,, 1 0 n of rhe child rn this srnnclard. or rn her spiriwal purirv, . and it was
different srandard of shame concerning rhe relarions of rhe sexes. And rhrough rl\ nor seen as in anv wav contradicrin\.': her rtlil!ious tducarion . _
c1ea .' - . . .__ ._ .
rhese examples one gains a clearer perceprion of the specific srandard of shame 8. Only very gradually. subsequently. did a srrongtr associarion of sexualiry
which slowly became preclominam in the ninereenrh and rwentierh centuries. In wirh shame and embarrassment. and a corresponding resrraint of beha,iour.
chis period, even among adulrs. everything perrnining to sexual lift was . -icl n1ort or less evenh over rhe wholt of socierv.
sprt< And onlv whtn rhe disrnnct
concealed to a high degree and dismissed behind rhe scenes. This is why it is berween adulrs and children grew did "sex educarion.. become an "acutt
possible, and also necessary. w conceal this side of lift for a long period from problem"
children . In the preceding phases rhe relations berween the sexes. together with Above. rht criricism ofErasmuss CfJ!!oq11iu by rht well-known pedagogue Von
the insriwtions embracing rhem. were far more direcrly incorporated into public Rcmmer was quored. Tht picwre of chis whole curve of development becomes
lite. Hence ir was more narural for children to be familiar \virh chis side of lite even cltartr if we see how rhe problem of sexual educarion. rl1t adaprnrion of rhe
from an early age From rhe poim of view of condirioning. there was no need ro child rn rhe srnndarcl of his own [Raumtr's] society. posed irself rn chis tducaror
burden chis sphere wirh rnboos and secrecy to rhe exrenr char became ntctssary Jn 1857. Von Raumer published a shore work called The Ecl11ct1tion rf Girl.r. \Vhar
in rhe lartr stage of civilizarion. wirh irs difterem standard of bthaviour . he prescribed in ir (p . 7 2) as a behavioural model for adulrs in answtring rht
In coun-arisrocraric sociery. sexual life was certainly a good deal more sexual quesrions of rheir children was ctrrninly nor rhe only possible form of
concealtd rhan in medieval sociery \Vhar rht observer from a bourgeois- behaviour ar his rime: nevenheltss. ir was highly characrerisric of d1t standard of
indusrrial sociery ofrtn interprers as rhe "frivolin" of courr socitrv was nmhing the ninereemh ctmury, in rhe insrrucrion of both girls and boys:
orher dnn chis shifr roward concealmem. Nevenheless. bv
srnndarcl of control of rhe impulses in bourgtois sociery irself. rhe conceaimem Some morhers are of rhe opinion. fun<lamenrnlly perverse in my \itw, thar daughters
and segregarion of stxualiry in social life, as in consciousness, was rtlarively should be given insight inro all family circumstances. tvtn inro rhe rtlarions of rhe
slighr in chis phase. Htrt roo, the judgemtnt of people in a lacer phase ofren goes sexes. and iniriartd into things thar will fall to their lor in rhe en:nt rhar rhey should
marry. following rhe example of Rousseau. rhis view degenerated ro rhe coarsest and
astray. because rhev stt rheir own srnndards againsr courrly-arisrncraric ones,
n1osc repulsiYt caricacure in che philanrhropi:;r uf Ochl'.r n1ucht:rs exaggerate in
seeing borh as somtching absolure. rad1er rhan as imerlinking phases in a
rhe opposite direction by telling girls things which. as soon as rhe\ grow older. musr
movemem, and rhty nuke rhtir own srandarcls rht mtasure of all orhers.
reveal themselves as totally false. As in all other cases, this is reprehensible Thc.r,
In courr socitry. roo, rhe relarive openness wirh which rhe narnral funcrions .rhol!!d 11r1r /;:, !ffi!(htd !!/Jon a! :di in thr: J1rts,nc, 1f d1ildrtll. kast of all in a secretive -:vay
were discussed an'iong adults, corresponded to a grtarer lack of inhibirion in which is liable tu arouse curiosiry Children should be lefr for as long as is ar all
speech and acrion in rhe prtstnce of children There art numerous txamples of possible in rhe belief rhar an angel brings rhe morher her lirrle children. This legend.
chis. To rake a panicularly illusrrarive one. rhere lived ar rhe coun in rhe cusron1ary in son1e regions. is for btrcer rhan tht srory of the stork con-1n1on elsewhere
seventeenth century a lirde .Mlle de Bouillon who was six ytars old. The ladits Children. if rhey realh grow up under their mothers eyes. will seldom ask forward
of rhe courr were wont ro converse wirh her, and one day rhey played a jokt on questions on chis poinr nor even if rhe mother is pre,enrtd by a childbirth from
her: they rried ro persuadt rhe young lady she was prtgnanr. The linle girl hming them about her If i:irls should larer ask how lirrlc: childn:n really come inro
denitd ir. She defended htrself. Ir was absolmely impossible. she said. and rhey the world. rhey should be rolcl rhar rhe good Lord gives the mother her child, who h<Ls
a guardian angel in heaven who cerrninly played an invisible pan in bringing us this
argued back and fonh . Bm rhen ont day on waking up she found a newborn
great jo\ "You do nor need ro know nor could you understand how God gives
child in her bed She was amazed; and she said in htr innocenct, "So chis has
children .. Girls musr be satisfied with such answers in a hundred rnses, and ir is rhe
happened only to rhe Holy Virgin and me; for I did nm feel any pain" Her
morhers rask rn occupy her daughters' rhoughts so incessantly with the good and
words were passed round, and rhen rht linle affair became a di\ersion for d1t beautiful rhat rhe1 are lefr no rime rn brood on such marrers A mother ought
whole courr. The child recei\ed ,isirs. as was cusromary on such occasions. The only once ro say s;riously: "Jr would nor be good for you rn know such a thing, and you
152 Th, Cil'i!i:.i11g Procc.;s Ch1mg,;s i11 the Bul.Jcn'in!!r of thu Swtlar Uf'f'tr Classes i11 the \Vist 153

should rake care not rn listen w anything said about it, A truly well-brought-up girl 'It would nor be good for you ro know such a thing, . " Neither "rarional"
will rrom then on fetl shame at htaring things of this kind spoken of motives nor practical reasons primarily derermined this attirucle. bm rather rhe
shame of adulrs rhemselves, which had become compulsive Ir was rhe social
Berwttn the manner of speaking abom sexual relations represenred by Erasmus prohibitions and resistances within themselves, rheir own "superego", char made
and that represenred here by Von Raumer. a civilization-curve is visible which is them keep silenr,
similar to chat shown in more derail in rhe expression of ocher impulses. In the For Erasmus and his comemporaries, as we have seen, rhe problem was nor
ci,ilizing process, sexualiry. coo, has been increasingly removed behind the rh,ir of enlighrening rhe child on the relations of men and women, Children
scenes of social life and enclosed in a particular enclave. rhe nuclear family. found our abom chis of their own accord through the kind of social insrirurions
Likewise. rhe relarions berween rhe sexes have been hemmed in, placed behind and social life in which they grew up. As rhe reserve of adulrs was less, so roo was
walls in consciousness. An aura of embarrassmem, rhe expression of a socio- the discrepancy between what was permirred openly and whar rook place behind
generic fear, came ro surround chis sphere of life. Even among adulrs it was the scenes Here rhe chief rnsk of the educaror was ro guide rhe child, within
referred co officially only wirh camion and circumlocurions, And wirh children whar it already knew, in rhe correcr direction-or, more precisely, rhe direction
parricularly girls, such rhings were, as far as possible. nor referred to ar all. desired by the eclucaror. This was what Erasmus sought co do rhrough conversa-
Raumer gave no reason why one oughr nor to speak of chem with children. He tions like char of the girl with her suiror or the youth wirh rhe prosrirure, And rhe
could have said it was desirable to preserve the spirimal purity of girls for as long success of rhe book shows rhar Erasmus struck the righr note for many of his
as possible Bm even chis reason was only anorher expression of how far rhe gradual com em poraries.
submergence of these impulses in shame and embarrassmem had advanced br chis As in rhe course of the civilizing process the sexual drive, like many ochers,
rime, Ir was now as namral nor to speak of rhese matters as ir was to speak of.them has been subjected ro ever srricrer comrol and re-modelling, the problem ir poses
in Erasmus's rime,. And the fact that borh rhe wirnesses invoked here, Erasmus and changes, The pressure placed on adults ro privatize all their impulses (parric-
Von Raumer, were serious Chrisrians who rook rheir aurhorirr from Goel further ularly sexual ones), the "conspiracy of silence", the socially generated resrricrions
underlines the difference. . on speech, the emotionally charged character of most words relating ro sexual
Ir is clear! y not "rational .. motives char underlay rhe model pm forward by urges-all this builds a thick wall of secrecy around the growing child. \Vhar
Von Raumer,. Considered rarionally. rhe problem confroming him seems makes sexual enlighrenment-rhe breaching of chis wall, which will one clay be
unsolved, and what he said appears comraclicrory.. He did nor explain how and necessary-so clifficulr is not only rhe need to make the growing child conform
when rhe young girl should be made co unclersrancl whar was happening and w rhe same sranclarcl of resrraim and comrol over drives as rhe adulr. Ir is, above
would happen to her. The primary concern was rhe necessirv of insrillina b
all, rhe mental srrucrure of the aclulrs rhemselves char makes speaking abom
"moclesry" (i e . feelings of shame. fear, embarrassment and (.Wilt) or, more these secret rhings difficult, Very often adults have neirher the rone nor the
precist!y, behaviour conforming co rhe social srnnclard,, And Lone feels how words. The "dirty" words they know are om of rhe question. The medical words
infinitely difficult ir was for rhe educaror himself to overcome rhe resistance of are unfamiliar to many. Theorerical considerations in rhemselves do not help. Ir
die shame and embarrassment which surrounded this sphere for him. One is the sociogeneric repressions in them chat lead ro resistance to speaking. Hence
clerecrs somerhing -of- rht deep confusion in which this social developmenr had the advice given by Von Raumer to speak on these matters as little as possible,
placed people; the only advice char rht educaror was able ro give mothers was to And chis siruation is further exacerbated by rhe fact that rhe tasks of condirion-
avoid contact wirh these things wherever possible. \Vhar is involved here is nor ing and "enlightenment" fall more and more exclusively ro parems. The many-
rhe lack of insighr or rhe inhibition of a parricular person: ir is a social. nor an sicled love relarionships between mother, father and child rend ro increase
individual problem. Only gradually, as if through insighr gained rerrospecrively, resistance to speaking abom these questions, not only on the pan of the child bm
were better methods evolved for adapring rhe child ro the high degree of sexual also on that of the father or morher.
resrraim, ro the comrol, rransformarion and inhibition of these drives char were Ir is clear from this how the question of childhood is ro be posed,, The
totally indispensable for life in this sociery, psychological problems of the growing person cannot be unclersrood if individ-
Von Raumer himself in a sense saw char chis area of life ou<hrb
nor ro be uals are regarded as developing uniformly in all hisrorical epochs. The problems
surrounded wirh an aura of secrecy '\vhich is liable to arouse curiosirv". Bur as relating to rhe child's consciousness and drive-economy vary with the namre of
this had become a "secret" area in his socierv, he could nor escape necessity the relations of children to adulrs. These relations have in each sociery a specific
of secrecy in his own preceprs: "A morher . oughr only once ro say seriously: form corresponding ro the peculiarities of irs structure They are clifferem in
The Cizi!i:i11g P1r1c1:s.1 155

class ot.ctn called themselves "bascarcl .. ex1Jressh_ and 1;rouclh. is well enough
knightly society from rhose in urban bourgeois socien:
. chev. are different in the
whole secular society of che Middle Ages from chose of modern times. Therefore
che problems arising from che adaptation and moulding of growing children in che absolucisc court societies of che seventeenth and eighteenth
che standard of adults-for example, che specific problems of pubtrt\" in our
ceow rlc:s derived its special character from che face chac. through
. the scruccure of
civilized society-can only be underscood in relation co rhe hisrorical phase, the rhese societies. che dominance of che husband over che wife was for che
structure of society as a whole. which demands and maintains chis standard of -nrst cime . The social !}OWer of che wife was almost equal to chat ot the husband.
adult behaviour and rhis special form of relationship between adults and al opinion was determined ro a high degree bv women. And whereas societ\.
children. S0 c1, v v

h:id hirherco acknowledged only che extramarital relationships of men. regarding

9 A civilizing curve analogous to rhac which appears through che question of rhose of the socially "weaker sex" as more or less reprehensible. the extramarital
"sex education .. could also be shown in re lac ion ro marriage and ics development relarionships of women now appeared, in keeping wich che transformation of the
in \Xiescern society. Thar monogamous marriage is che predominant inscicution balance of social power becween che sexes, as legicimact within cenain limits.
regulating sexual relations in che \Vest is undoubtedly correct in general cerms. le remains co be shown in greater clecail how decisive chis first power-gain or,
Nevertheless, the actual control and moulding of sexual relations has changed if one likes, chis first wave of emancipation of women in absolmisc court society
considerably in che course of \Xiescern history. The Church certainly fought ear!v was for che civilizing process, for the advance of cht frontier of shame and
for monogamous marriage. Bur marriage rook on this strict form as a soci;I embarrassment and for the strengthening of social control over individuals .
inscicucion binding on boch sexes only ac a lace stage, when drives and impulses Along wich chis power-gain. che social ascent of ocher social groups necessiraced
came under firmer and stricter control For only chen were excramariral relation- new forms of drive control for all ac a lewl midway between chose previously
ships for men really ostracized socially, or ac lease subjected co absolute secreC\. imposed on che rulers and che ruled respectively, so chis strengthening of che
In earlier phases, depending on che balance of social power between che social position of women signified (ro express che point schematically) a decrease
excramarical relationships for men and sometimes also for women were caken in the restrictions on their drives for women and an increase in che rescriccions
more or less for granted by secular society. Up ro che sixteenth cenrurv we bear on cheir drives for men. Ac che same cime, ic forced both men and women to
ofren enough chat in che families of the mosc honourable citizens che l.egicimate adopt a new and a stricter self-discipline in their relations with one another.
and illegicimace children of che husband were brought up rogecher; nor was anv In che famous novel La P1i11ecss1: dt Cli:zu, by Madame de la Fayecce. che
secret made of cht difference before che children themselves. The man was no.t Princess's husband, who knew his wife ro be in love wich che Due cit Nemours,
yec forced socially ro feel ashamed of his excramarical relationships. Despite all savs: "I shall cruse only in you; ic is che path my heart counsels me ro cake. and
the countervailing tendencies chat undoubtedly alreadv existed, ic was verv often my reason. \Vich a temperament like yours. hy lmzi11g y1J11 )1Ji!r !ilmty I sd )IJ!t
taken for gramecl char die bascarcl children were a p;1rc of cbe familv. che 111n-rr;zct:r !iwirs than I could enforce .... "'
father should provide for their future and, in che case of daughters, ;1rrange an This is an example of che characceriscic pressure coward self-di sci pl int
honourable wedding. Bm no doubt chis led more than once co serious "mis- imposed on cht sexes by chis situation. The husband knows chat he cannot hold
unclerscanding .. % b.ecween che married couples. his wife by force. He does noc ram or expostula(e because his wife loves anochtr,
The sirnacion of che illegicimace child was noc alwars and even-where cht nor dots he appeal ro his rig hes as a husband . Public opinion would support none
same throughom the Middle Ages . For a long cime, nev.erchtless, was no of chis . He restrains himself Bm in doing so ht expects from her che same self-
trace of the tendency cowards secrecy which corresponds lacer, in proftssional- discipline as he imposes on himself This is a very characceriscic example of che
bourgeois society, ro the tendency cowards a scriccer confinement of sexualit\' ro new cons(ellacion chat comes inco being wich che lessening of social inequality
the relationship of one man co one woman, ro che stricter control of between che sexes. Fundarnemally, iris not rhe individual husband who gives his
impulses, and ro che stronger pressure of social prohibitions Here, coo, the wift chis freedom. Ir is founded in che structure of society itself Bur ic also
demands of che Church cannot be taken as a measure of che real scanclarcl of demands a new kind of behaviour. Ir produces very specific conflicts. And chere
secular society.. In reality, if noc alwavs in law, che situation of che illegicimace are ctrcainly enough women in chis society who make use of chis freedom" There
children in a family differed from of che legicimace children onlv in che is plentiful evidence chat in chis cour( aristocracy che rescriccion of sexual
former did noc inherit che srarns of che father nor in general his or at relationships ro marriage was very often regarded as bourgeois and as noc in
lease noc che same pare of ic as che legitimate children Thac people in the upper keeping with cheir escace. Never(heless, all chis gives an idea of how directly a
156 The C il'i!i:i11g Proo:_;_; Cht111g.:s in tin: Bth,nio11r of tin Sw1!t1r Upper Classes in tht \Fest 15 7

specific kind of freedom corresponds to particular forms and stages of social . cierv, che social power of che husband was again greacer than chat of che
coun so , . - . . .
interdependence among human beings. so thac violac10n of the rnboo on excramanral relanonsh1ps by che husband
The non-dynamic linguiscic forms to which we are scill bound today oppose . usually judged more leniendy chan che same offence by women Bm boch
freedom and conscraim like heaven and htll From a short-term point of view, \\a5 1es now had w be emireh excluded from official social life. Unlike chose in
breac 1 . .
this chinking in absolme opposites is ofren reasonably adequate. For someone in . -ierv rhev had ro be removed scricd v behrnd che scenes. barn shed to che
courr ,uL . ' . . - . . . . . .
prison the world outside che prison walls is a world of fretdom. But considered f secrecv. This is onlv one of manv examples of the rncrease rn rnh1bltlon
reamI O
mort precisely, chere is, contrary ro what antitheses such as chis one suggest, no , nd self-resrrainc which individuals now had ro impose on chemselves.
,! -
such ching as "absolute" freedom, if this means a rota! independence and absence lO. The civilizing process does nor follow a scraighr line. The general trend of
of social constraint. There is a liberncion from one form of consrraim that is cI1ang,e can be decermined ' as has been done here . On a smaller scale lhere are the
oppressive or inrolernble ro another which is less burdensome. Thus the diverse criss-cross movements, shifts and spurcs in this or that direction
civilizing process, despite the rransformacion and increased constraint that it Bm if we consider che movement over large rime spans, we set clearly how cht
imposes on the emotions, goes hand in hand wich liberacions of the most diverse compulsions arising directly from che chreat of weapons and physical force have
kinds. The form of marriage at the absolutist courts, symbolized by the same araduallv diminished, and how chose forms of dependency which lead w che
arrangement of living rooms and bedrooms for men and women in the mansions of che affeccs in che form of self-comm!, gradually increased . This
of che court aristocracy, is one of many examples of this. The woman was more appears ac ics most unilinear if we observe che men of che upper class of
free from external consrraims than in feuclal society But the inner constraint, the ,my cime-d1ac is, che class composed first of wamors or knighcs, chen of
self-control which she had rn impose on herself in accordance with the form of and chen of professional bourgeois. If che whole many-layered fabric of
integration and the code of behaviour of court society, and which stemmed from hisrorical development is considered. however. che movemem is seen to be
the same structural features of this society as her "liberation", had increased for intinicely more complex. In each phase chere are numerous flucmations. frequem
\vomen as for men in comparison to knightly sociecy advances or recessions of rhe internal and excernal conscraims An observacion of
The case is similar if rhe bourgeois form of marriage of the nineteenth century such flucrnacions. parcicubrly chose close to us in rime, can easily obscure che
is comparecl wich that of rhe court aristocracy of the seventeenth and eighteenth general crend. One such flucmacion is present today in che memories of all: in the_
centuries. In this later period, the bourgeoisie as a whole became freed from the period following \Vorld \Var I, as compared w che pre-war period. a "relaxation of
pressures of the absolurisr-estates social structure. Both bourgeois men and morals" appears w have occurred. A number of conscraints imposed on behaviour
bourgeois women were now relieved of the external constraints to which they before che war have weakened or disappeared emirt!y.. 1fany chings forbidden
were subjected as second-rare people in the hierarchy of estates. Bur the earlier are now permicced. And. seen at close quarcers. che movemem seems rn be
interweaving of trade and money, the growth of which had given them che social proceeding in che direction opposice to that shown here: ic seems to lead to a
power to liberate themselves, had increased In chis respecc, the social constraints relaxation of che constraints imposecl on individuals by social lift . Bm on closer
on individuals were also scronger chan before. The pa((ern of self-restraim examinacion ic is nor difficulr w perceive char chis is merely a very slighc
imposed on che people of bourgeois sociecy chrough cheir occupacional work was recession. one of che fluctuacions char constantly arise from the complexicy of che
in many respeccs different from che pauern imposed on the emocional life by rhe hisrnrical movement wichin each phase of the roral process.
funccions of courc society. For many aspeccs of rhe "emocional economy", One example is baching manners. Ir would have meam social ostracism in che
bourgeois funccions-above all, business life-demand and produce greacer self- nineceenth cemury for a woman rn wear in public one of rhe barbing cosrumes
rescraint chan courdy funccions. \'Vhy che level of development, why-to express commonplace roday. Bm chis change. and wirh it the whole spread of sports for
it more precisely-che occupacional work char became a general way of life wich men and \vomen. presupposes a very high standard of drive control. Only in a
the rise of che bourgeoisie should necessirnte a particularly scrict disciplining of society in which a high degree of rescraim is raken fi:ir granted. and in which
sexuality is a quescion in its own right.. The lines of connection becween the women are. like men. absolmely sure char each individual is curbed by self-
modelling of che drive-economy and the social scrucrure of che nineceenth conrrol and a scricc code of eciquene. can bathing and sponing cusrnms having
cenmry cannoc be considered here. However, by the srandard of bourgeois chis relacivt degree of freedom develop. Ir is a relaxarion which remains wichin
society, che control of sexuality and the form of marriage prevalem in court rhe framework of a panicular "civilized" srnndard of behaviour involving a very
society appear extremely lax Social opinion now severely condemned all high degree of automacic conscraim and affecc cransformarion. conditioned to
excramarical relations becween the sexes, chough here, unlike che siruacion in become a habic
158 The l59

Ac che same cime. howen:r. we also find in our own cime che precursors of a ., cl virh sexualitl" was less. This is what makes Erasmus's educational
issoo,lte \ ". . . . . -" .
shifr wwards che culrivarion of new and srricrer consrrainrs. In a number of ,ork quorecI 1bC)\e
' so dithculr tor I'tcla;..'.o"ues
c- ot a larer phase ro unclusrand.
societies there art arremprs ro establish a social regulation and management of ;nd 50 conditioning. rhe reproduction of social habits in d1t child.did nor rake
d1t emorions far srronger and more: conscious rhan rht standard prevalent 50 exclusively bt:hincl closed doors. as 1r were. bur tar more directly lll the
hirhtrro. a pattern of moulding rhar imposes renunciations and rransfrirmarion of . u f or her IJtOjJle A bv no means unrvpical picrnre of this kind. ot
resence . .- . .
drives on individuals with vast consequences for human life which are scarcely p 1 ninu in rhe UJJ[Jer class can be tound. tor example, lll the diary of rhe
cone iuo c
fortseeable as yer
donor ..Te 'in He' ro'1rd
' which records dav
bv dav
and almost hour b\ hour the
11 Regardless. rherefore. of how much rhe tendencies may criss-cross. advance , 1c!l1ood of Louis XIII what ht did and said as he grew up
and recede. relax or righten in matters of derail and from a short-term cni , .
Ir is nor withom a wuch of paradox that the greater the transrormarrnn.
perspecrin:. rhe direction of the main mowment-as far as ir is visible up ro rncl
conrro l . r"stnint
c ._ '
of drives and impulses that is . demanded
. .
now-has been the same for the expression of all kinds of driw. The process of
- c1
ot 111 l\ iclLi'ils
Lw socierv

therefore rhe more dithculr rhe conclmon111g
. .
ci\ilization of rhe sex driw. seen on a large scale. has run parallel ro those oforher
young becomes. the more rhe rnsk of first socially re:uired habits 1s
drives. no matter what sociogenetic differences of derail may always be present.
within rhe nuclear family. on rhe tarher and mother. _I he mecha111sm
Here, t00. measured in terms of the srandards of the men of successive upper
ot. cone1r
1 1onin<
b' howewr , is still srnrcelv
. different than in earlier nmes . For ir does
classes. control has grown ever srricrer . The drive has been slowly but progressively
not involve a closer supervision of rhe task. or more exacr planning that rakes
suppressed from the public life of society The reserve that must be exercised in
account of rhe special circumstances of rhe child. bur is effecrecl primarily by
speaking of it has also increased.'"' And this restraint. likt all others. is enforced
automatic means and t0 some extent through reflexes . The socially patterned_
!tss and less by direcr physical force. Ir is culrirnrtd in inc!i\ic!uals from an tar!y
consrellarion of habits and impulses of rhe parents gives rise t0 a consrellarion of
age as habirnal self-restraint by rhe srrucrure of social life. by the pressure of
habits and impulses in rhe child; these may operate either in rhe same direction
social instirnrions in general. and by certain executive organs of society (above
or in one entirely different from rhar desired or expected by the parents on the
all. the family) in particular. Correspondingly, the social commands and prohibi-
basis of their own conditioning. The interweaving of the habits of parents and
tions become increasingly a part of rhe self_ a strictly rtgulared superego
children, rbrough which the drive economy of rhe child is slowly moulded and
Like many other dri\es. sexuality is confined more and more exclusi\ely. nor
only for women bm for men as well, ro a particular enclave, socially legitimized viven irs character is, in other words, only t0 a slight extent determined by
marriage. Social wlerance of other relationships, for both husband and wife, Behaviour and words associated by the parenr with shame and
which was by no means lacking earlier. is suppressed increasing!)". if with repugnance are very soon associated in the same way by the children, through the
flucrnarions Every violation of rhc:se restrictions. and e\ernhing concluciw to parents' expressions of displeasure. their more or less gentle pressure; in this way
one. is rhertfort rdtgated to cht realm of secrtcy. of what mav nor Ik menrioned rbe social standard of shame and repugnance is gradually reproduced 111 the
wirhom loss of prestige or social position children. But such a standard forms at rhe same rime rhe basis and framework of
And just as the nuclear family only very gradually became. so txclusin:l), the the most diverse individual drive formations. How the growing personality is
sole legitimate enclave of sexuality and of all intimate funcrions for men and fashioned in particular cases by rhis incessant social inreracrion between die
women. so it was only ar a recent stage that it became so decisi\ely rhe primary parenrs and children's feelings. habits and reactions is at present largely
organ for culrirnring the socially required control over impulses and bdiaviour in unforeseeable and incalculable ro parents.
young people. Before this degree of restraint and intimacy was reached. and until 1..2. The trend of the ciYilizing moYemenr rowards tht stronger and stronger
the separation of the life of drives from public view was strictly enforced. rhe cask and more complete "inrimizarion of all bodily funcrions. wwards their enclosure
of early conditioning did nor fall so heavily on father and morher. All the people in particular enclaves, ro put them "behind closed doors". has din:rsc: con-
wirh whom the child came into contact-and when intimizarion \ms less sequences . One of the most important. which has already been obsen . ed lll
advanced and the interior of the house less isolated. they were often quire connection with various other forms of drives. is seen particularly clearly lll the
numerous-played a part. In addition. rhe family itself was usually larger and- case of rhe developmenr of civilizing restraints on sexuality Ir is the peculiar
in rhe upper classes-the servants more numerous in earlier rimes. People in division in human beings which becomes more pronounced rhe more sharply
general spoke more openly about rhe \arious aspecrs of the life of drives. and rhose as peers of human life rhat may be publicly displayed are divided from those
gave way more freely in speech and <lCtion rn their own impulses. The shame rhar may nor. and which must remain "intimate" or "secret" Sexuality. like all
1 B,.'1, 1110111 1.1J t'v 5,.,ufar Upt1tr Clc1ssr:s in the \\!i:st 16l
160 Tlk Cfrilizi11g PrrJCeS.l Changes Jil toe 1. . , 1 /

rhe ocher narural human funcrions, is a phenomenon known ro everyone and a

parr of each human lift. \\le have seen how all rhese funcrions have graduallir
On Changes m
become charged wirh sociogeneric shame and embarrassmem, so rhar rhe me;e
memion of rhem in public is increasingly resrricred by a mulriwde of conrrols Aggressiveness
and prohibirions. More and more, people keep rhe funcrions rhemselves, and all
. ffecr-srrucrure of human beings is a whole. \\le may call parricular_ drives
reminders of rhem, concealed from one anorhec \\!here rhis is nor possible-as The .1.. ames 1ccording ro rhe1r --
d1Herenr d'1recr10ns
an cl f uncr10ns. \\le mav,
in weddings, for example-shame. embarrassmem, fear and all rhe orher b - d1Herenr n, ' - . - .
Ji ,_ t' hun"er and rhe need to spir, of rhe sexual dnve and ot aggressive
emorions associared wirh rhese driving forces of human lift are masrered by a 0 0
' b l' ce rbese different -

are no more separa bl e r Irnn r l1e I1eart
precisely regulared social rimal and by cerrain concealing formulas rhar preserve rn ulses, ur 1I1 Jr
. . . ,
p l . micb or rhe blood in rhe brain from rhe blood 1l1 rhe gernralw. Tht}
rhe standard of shame. In orher words, wirh rhe advance of civilizarion rhe lives trorn t ie sto ' - . '. .
and in parr supersede each other, rransform rhemsehes \\ 1rl11n
of human beings are increasingly splir berween an imimare and a public sphere, comp lemenr If
1 and compensate for each orher; a d1srurbance here man1tesrs 1rse
berween prirnre <rnd public behaviour. And rhis splir is raken so much for cerra!I1 im1 rs ' . . .
shon rhev form a kind of circuir in rht human bemg, a partial urnr
gramed, becomes so compulsive a habir, rhar ir is hardly perceived in con- rhere. I n ' , . , . . . . ,
. l I e roral unirv of rhe oraan1sm. fhe1r srrucrure is soil opaque m man}
sciousness. wit 11n r 1 ' , o . - . . . fi h
ur rheir sociallv imprinted form 1s of dec1s1ve 1mporrance or r e
In conjuncrion wirh rhis growing division of behaviour inro whar is and what respecrs, b . . . . . .
funcrioning of a sociery as of rhe rnd1v1duals w1rh111 1L
is nor publicly permirred, rhe psychic srrucrure of people is also rransformed. The manner in which impulses or emotional express10ns are spoken of today
The prohibirions supporred by social sancrions are reproduced in individuals as l . els one ro surmise rhar we have wirhin us a whole bundle of
sorner1mes ea . . ,,
self-comrols. The pressure ro resrrain impulses and rhe sociogeneric shame cl . A "dearl insrincr'" or 1 "need for recogrnnon are referred to as
' 1
dirterenr nves. ' .
surrounding rhem-rhese are rurned so complerely imo habirs rhar we cannot 'f l , were differem chemical subsrances. This is nor to deny rhar observanons
t ne} cl
resist rhem even when alone. in rhe intimare sphere. Pleasure-promising drives cl.f-cerenr drives in individuals mav1 be exrremtlv fnurful an rnsrrucove.
orr r11ese
1 11 . _ .
and pleasure-denying taboos and prohibirions, socially generated feelings of Bur the caregories by which rhese observarions are class1hed musr _remam
shame and repugnance, come ro barrle wirhin rhe self. This, as has been powerless in rhe face of rheir living objecrs if rhey_ fail ro express rhe .urnry and
memioned, is clearly rhe srare of affairs which Freud rried ro express by concepts toralirv of rhe life of drives, and rhe connecr10n ot each dnve ro rh1s
such as rhe "superego" and rhe "unconscious" or, as ir is nor unfruitfully called tora I1.. ry. Accordi'ngl"1, aggressiveness which will be rhe subject of rh1s chaprer,. is
in everyday speech, rhe "subconscious". Bur however ir is expressed, rhe social nor a .separable species of drive. Ar most, one may speak of rhe _"aggressive
code of conduct so imprims irself in one form or anorher on human beings rhat impulse" only if one remains aware rhar it refers ro a boddy funcr10n
ir becomes a consriruenc elemenr of rheir individual selves . And this element. rhe wirhin rhe toraliry of an organism, and rhar changes ll1 rh1s tuncr10n mdicare
superego, like rhe personaliry srrucrure as a whole of individual people, changes in rhe personality srrucrure as a whole.
necessarily changes constandy with rhe social code of behaviour and rhe srrucrure LLThe standard of aggressiveness, irs rone and intensity, is nor at _presem
of sociery. The pronounced division in rhe "ego" or consciousness characrerisric of exactly uniform among rhe differem nations of rhe \\!esr. Bur rhese differences,
people in our phase of civilizarion, which finds expression in such rerms as whicl; from close up ofren appear quire considerable, disappear if rhe aggressive-
"superego" and "unconscious", corresponds ro rhe specific splir in rhe behaviour ness of rhe "civilized" narions is compared to rhar of socieries at a different stage
which civilized sociery demands of its members. Ir marches rhe degree of of affect control. Compared ro rhe barde fury of rhe Abyssinian warriors-
regularion and restraint imposed on rhe expression of drives and impulses. admirredlv powerless against rhe technical appararus of rhe civilized army--or ro
Tendencies in this direction may develop in any form of human sociery, even in rhe of rhe different rribes ar the rime of the Grear Migrarions, rhe
rhose which we call "primirive". Bur rhe srrengrh attained in socieries such as of even rhe mosr warlike nations of rhe civilized world .appears
ours by rhis differentiarion and rhe form in which ir appears are reflecrions of a subdued. Like all other insrincrs, it is bound, even in direcdy \Yarl1ke acr10ns, by
rhe advanced stare of rhe division of funcrions, and by rhe resulting greater
particular hisrorical developmem, rhe results of a civilizing process .
dependence of individuals on each orher and on rhe technical apparatus. Ir is
This is whar is meant when we refor here ro rhe conrinuous correspondence
confined and rnmed bv innumerable rules and prohibitions rhar have become
between rhe social srrucrure and rhe srrucrure of rhe personaliry, of rhe individual
self-constraints. Ir is much rransformed, "refined", "civilized", as all rhe orher

forms of pleasure. and it is only in dreams or in isolated ourbursrs that We I shall shame e\ery knight I have raken. cut off his nose or his ears. If he
rhrears. . _ .. 101
accounr for as pathological char something of its immediate and unregulated . _ "eant or a merchant he will lose a toot or an arm.
is a . . . . . f-
force appears Suel1 r11inus c
were not onl\"- said ll1_ song. These
were_ an rnregral part o
In rhis area of the affecrs. the rheaue of hostile collisions between people, the life. And rhey expressed the ftelings ot the listeners tor whom they were
same historical transformation has taken place as in all others. No matter at what . cl -d f:1 r more direcrlv than manv 1)arts of our literature They may have
1nten t ' - -
poinr the Middle Ages stand in this transformation. it will again suffice here to r-ired rhe derails. Even in the age of knights money already had, on
e:s:agge" ._ . . ,.
rake rhe standard of their secular ruling class, rhe warriors, as a srarting-poinr, to ns some power to subdue and transform rhe affects. Usually only the poor
occasio , .
illustrate the overall panern of this developmenr. The release of the affects in , - ,l, for whom no considerable ransom could be expected, were mut1lared.
;:tOO 1Q\\ JJ . .
battle in rhe Middle Ages was no longer, perhaps, quire so uninhibited as in the knid1ts who commanded ransoms were: spared. The chronicles which
and rlie . .
early period of the Grear Migrations . Bur it was open and uninhibited enough cl..
rn.:c ti\_ document social life bear ample wirness to these an1rndes
compared to the srandard of modern rimes. In the laner, cruelty and joy in the Thev were mosdy written by clerics The \alue judgements they conrarn are
destruction and tormenr of od1ers. like die proof of physical superiority, are often those of the weaker group threatened by rhe warrior class
placed under an increasingly strong social control anchored in the stare organiza- Nevertheless, the picture rhey transmit ro us is quire genuine. He spends his
tion . All these forms of pleasure, hemmed in by threats of displeasure, have life", we read of a knight, "in plundering, destroying churches, falling upon
gradually come ro express themselves only inclirecrly, in a "refined" form. And pilgrims. oppressing widows and orphans. He 1xirricular plea:ure ll1
only at rimes of social upheaval or where social conrrol is looser (e g., in colonial larin"
OlU t 1 b
rhe innocenr ' In a sinu[e

that ol the black monks ot Sarlar,
regions) do they break our more direcdy. uninhibitedly, less impeded by shame there are 150 men and women whose hands he has cm off or whose eyes he has
and repugnance . put our And his wife is just as cruel. She helps him with his executions. Ir
2. Life in medieval society tended in rhe opposite direction Rapine. battle, gives her pleasure to torture the poor women. She had their breasts hacked orf or
hunting of people and animals-all these were viral necessities which, in ;heir nails torn off so that they were incapable of work. "!
accordance with the structure of society, were visible to all. And thus. for the Such affective outbursts may still occur as exceptional phenomena, as a
mighty and strong, they formed part of the pleasures of life. "pathological .. degeneration, in later phases of social development. But here no
r tell you ... says a \\ar hymn aruiburecl to rhe minstrel Bertran de Born, punitive social power existed The only threat, rhe only clanger that could rnst1l
""that neither earing, drinking, nor sleep has as much savour for me as when I fear was that of being overpowered in battle by a stronger opponent Leanng
hear the cry 'Forwards 1' from both sides, and horses without riders shying and aside a small dire, rapine, pillage and murder were srandarcl practice in the
whinnying, and the err 'Help 1 Help!', and ro see the small and rhe great fall to warrior society of this rime, as is noted by Luchaire, the historian of rhirreenth-
the grass at rhe di re hes and the dead pierced by rhe wood of rhe lances decked with cenrurv French societ\". There is little e\iclence char things were clifferenr in ocher
banners . " counrr.ies or in rhe ce,nrnries rhar followed Outbursts of cruelty did nor exclude
Ewn the literary formulation gi\"es an impression of rhe original saYagery of one from social life. They were nor outlawed. The pleasure in killing and
feeling. In another place Bertran de Born sings: '"The pleasant season is drawing torturing others was great, and it was a socially permitted pleasure. To a certain
nigh when our ships shall land. when King Richard shall come. merry and proud extent, rhe social structure even pushed its members in this direction. making ir
as he never was before. Now we shall see gold and sil\"er spent: che newly built seem necessary and practically advantageous to behave in this way
stonework will crack to the heart's desire, walls crumble. rowers topple and \Xihar, for example. ought to be clone with prisoners;, There was little money
collapse. our enemies taste prison and chains. I love the melee of blue and in chis society. \Xiirh regard to prisoners who could pay and who, moreover, were
vermilion shields, the many-coloured ensigns and rhe banners, the rents and rich members of one's own class. one exercised some degree of restraint Bm the
pavilions spread out on the plain, the breaking lances, rhe pierced shields, the others;, To keep chem meant to feed chem. To return them meant to enhance the
gleaming helmets char are split, rhe blows given and received." wealth and fighting power of the enemy.. For subjects (i e., working. serving and
\Var. one of the chc111so11s cit gcrtr: declared, was to descend as the stronger on the fighting hands) were a part of rhe wealth of che ruling class of char rime . So
enemy, ro hack clown his vines. uproot his trees. lay waste his Janel. rake his prisoners were killed or sent back so mutilated char they were unfitted for war
castles by storm, fill in his wells, and kill his people. service and work. The same applied to destroying fields, filling in wells and
A panicular pleasure was taken in mutilating prisoners: "By my rrorh."" said curring clown rrees In a preclominanrly agrarian society. in which immobile
the king in the same chcn1so11. r laugh at what you say I care nor a fig for your possessions represented rhe major part of property. this too served to weaken rhe
164 Th, Cil'i!i:i11g Process Chilnges in the B1:htll'iol!r of the Swdt1r Uf'i'er C!t1sses in the \Vest 165

enemy. The stronger affectivity of behaviour was ro a certain degree social!v enice: "\Var is a 1ovous thing \Ve love each other so much in war.
himsel f in s . . -
necessary. People behaved in a socially useful way and rook pleasure in _ . l, t our cause is JUSt and our krnsmen fight boldly, tears come to our
It we see t M . . . r . - . . .
And it was entirely in keeping with the lesser degree of social control and eves. A sweet joy nses _m our hearts. m the red mg. ot our honest loyafr: to each
constraint of the life of drives that this joy in destrucrion could sometimes ' cl seein" our friend so brawh exposmg his bodv to danger 111 order ro
orher; an b . . v - - . d
way. through a sudden identification with the victim, and doubtless also as an cl f lfil the commandment of our .
Creator, we resolve ro go forward an
. .
expression of rhe fear and guilt produced by the permanent precariousness of this d"- or live with him and never leave him on account of love. This brmgs such
life. ro excremes of pity The vicror of roday was defeated tomorrow by some ". h 1 ,,t rnyone who has not felt it cannot say how wonderful it is. Do you
del1g ( t 1c. ' . .
accident, caprured and imperilled. In the midst of these perperual ups and , . 'k l t someone who feels this is afraid of death, Not ll1 the least! He IS so
wrn t 1a . _. _ .
downs, this alternation of the human hunts of wartime wirh the animal hums or ed so deliuhted, that he does not know where be 1s. lruly be tears
srrengt l1en , o
tournaments that were rhe diversions of "peacetime", little could be predicted.
nothing in the world'" .
The furure was relatively uncertain even for chose who had fled rhe "world"; only This was the joy of battle, certainly. bm ir was no longer the direct pleasure
God and the loyalty of a few people who held together had any permanence. Fe;r in rhe human hunt, in the flashing of swords, in rhe neighing of steeds, in the
reigned everywhere; one had to be on one's guard all the time. And just as c . cl death of the enemv-how fine it is ro hear them cry "Help, help'" or see
1ear an
people's fate could change abruptly, so their joy could rum into fear and chis fear, 10
rhem ly1nub with their bodies rorn open' < Now the pleasure lav" in. the closeness _
in its rurn, could give way, equally abruptly, ro submission ro some new ro one's friends. the enthusiasm for a just cause. and more than earlier we find the
joy of battle serving as an inroxicant ro overcome fear. .
The majority of the secular ruling class of rhe Middle Ages led the life of VerY simple and powerful feelings speak here. One killed, gave oneself up
leaders of armed bands. This formed the taste and habits of individuals . Reports ro the fight. saw one's friend fight. One fought at his side. One forgot
left to us by that society yield, by and large, a picture similar ro those of feudal
where. one was. One forgot death itself It was splendid . \Xihat more'
societies in our own times; and they show a comparable standard of behaviour. There is abundant evidence that the attitude rowards life and death in the
Only a sm<1ll elire, of which more will be said later, stood om ro some extent
sec.u.lar upper class of the j\fiddle Ages by no means always accords with rhe
from this norm
attitude prevalent in rhe books of the ecclesiastical upper class, which we usually
The warrior of the Middle Ages not only loved battle, he lived for ic. He spent
consider "typical" of the 1Iiddle Ages For the clerical upper class, or at least for
his yomh preparing for battle. \Xihen he came of age he was knighted, and waged
its spokesmen, the conduct of life was determined by the thought of death and
war as long as his strength permitted, into old age. His life had no other
of what comes after, the next world.
function. His dwelling-place was a watchtower, a fortress, at once a weapon of
In the secular upper class this was by no means so exclusively the case.
attack and defence . If by accident, by exception, he lived in peace, he needed at
However frequent moods and phases of this kind may have been in the life of
least the illusion of war. He fought in rournaments, and these tournaments often
everv knight, there is recurrent evidence of a quite different attitude. Again and
differed little from real battles. 105
hear an admonition that does nor quite accord with the srandard
"For the society of that time war was the normal state," says Luchaire of the
picmre of the Middle Ages roday: do not let your life be governed by the
thirteenth century. And Huizinga says of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries:
"The chronic form which war was wont to rake, the continuous disruption of thought of death. Love the joys of this life.
"Nul courtois ne doit blamer joie, mais roujours joie aimer." (No co111luis man
rown and country by every kind of dangerous rabble, the permanent threat of
harsh and unreliable law enforcement . . . nourished a feeling of universal should revile joy, he should love joy.) 1o- This was a command of col!rtoisie from a
uncerrainty." 10 ' romance of the early thirteenth century. Or from a rather later period: .. A young
In the fifteenth century, as in the ninth or thirteenth, the knight still gave man should be gay and lead a joyous life. It does not befit a young man ro be
expression ro his joy in war, even if it were no longer so uninhibited and intact mournful and pensive " 108 In these srntements the knightly people, who certainly
as earlier. did not need robe "pensive", clearly contrasted themselves ro the clerics, who no
"War is a joyous thing . " 105 It was Jean de Bueil who said this. He had fallen doubt were frequently "mournful and pensive"
inro disfavour with the king. And now he dictated his life srory ro his servant. This far from life-denying attitude was expressed particularly earnestly and
This was in the year 1465 It was no longer the completely free, independem explicitly with regard ro death in some verses in the Distiche Cdto11is, which were
knight who spoke, the little king in his domain. It was someone who was passed from generation ro generation throughom the Middle Ages. Thar life is

was Ol1t of the funclamenrnl themes which recurred in these ver.
StS: f(H
There 1,- ' ont example-the fate. of .Mathieu
. ro nke ._ d'Escouchy He was_ a
and one of the numerous men ot the hfteenth century who wrote a
l ii 1 From rhis .. Chronicle .. we would suppose him to haw been a
To us all a hard uncertain lift. is !'in:n "Chrome e . k B
man of letters who devoted his nme to meticulous hisrnncal \I or.. Lit

Bm this did nm lead to the conclusion that one should chink of death and
. . r nc'
il we tr; to I '
our something
I Li c
of his life from the documents. a totally ditterent
comes afrerward, bur rather: en1erges
, c1Escouc!11
\farrntu . . be"ins
"' .. his. carter <LS mac;isrrart
. c as a councillor. juror
and mayor
. ,. I
If you fear clearh mu will live in misery of rhe rn\1n of Pernnne benvten l+iO and \ ..150. From the bt!'innmg we nnc.
. . kine! of fr.ucl with the famil1 of rht procurarnr of the ro,1n. Jean Fromenr. a
him 111 ,1 , . ,-
Or in anmher plact, expressed \1ich panicular clarity and beamy 11" c
reu d El.1,n 1)- fou"hr
c out in lawsuirs. Firsr ir is dk l'rocur<Hor who
. accuses
. cl Escouct1y or
"urrycn . . ' n1Lird e r. or of .. txcts
et Hrem11raz
' .. The manir
tor his pan rhreau:ns rhe
\\/e well know rhar dearh shall come W! O\\
. or,. llb
-- c e _ with inYesriwnion
for n1anical
c: The won1an
_ obrains
. . . a
and our fornre is unknown: mJli date. ccli1111- c-llin":::- cl Escoucl11
- . to 11lact rhe invesric;ation
'- in rht hands ot rhe
. iud1oar1.
srealrhy as a rhief he comes. The affair comes before the parliamenr in Paris. and dTscouchy goes co prison tor the
and body and soul he does parr first rime. \Ve find him under arresr six rimts subsequently. pardy as ddendanr and
Su be o( rrusr and confidence: once a:-...<.1 1,iisc,i
- 1 er 0 ( W'li'

Each rin1e

there is- a st:rious crin1irul case. and n1orc chan once
be nor mo much afraid of clt:arh. he sirs in heavy chains. The conresr of reciprocal accusarions between rht Froment and
for if you fear him owrnrnch d'Escouchy families is intt:rrupred by a violent clash in which Fromenrs son wounds
joy you nevermore shall rouch dTscoucln Both engage curthroats rn rake each orhers lives \\'hen rhis len!'rhy feud
p;1:'15L'S our view ' ir is re11lacecl Lw ntw arracks. This time the manir _. is wounded
of tht ntxt life. He who allowed his life to be determined by thoughts bra monk Ne\1 accusarions. then in 1-ihl cl'Escouchy s removal rn J\esle. apparemly
suspicion of criminal acrs. Yet rhis does nor pre,em him from having a
of death no longer had joy in life. Cenainly. the knights felc themselves strongly
successful rnreer. He becomes a bailiff. mayor of Ribemonr. procurnror rn the king at
to be Christians. and their lives were permeated by the traditional ideas and
5,1im Quinrin. and is raised w the nobilir) /1.frer ntw woundings. incarcerarions and
rituals of the Christian faith; but Christianity was linked in their minds. in
expiarion we find him in war sen-ict. Ht is madt a prisoner of war: from ,1 lacer
accordance with thtir differtnt social and psychological simation, with an
campaign he rerurns home c-rippled. Then he marries. but rhis does nor mc:an rhc
tntirely difterem scalt of values from that existing in die minds of the clerics be!'innin!' of a quiet life \Ve find him rrnnspom:d <\S a prisoner rn Pans .. like. a
who wrote and read books Their faith had a markedh different tenor and tone. criminal and n1urdertr . accused of forging seals, again in feud wnh a n1ag1suare in
It did not pn:c\ent them from savouring to the fiJ!l ch.t jon of the world: it did Compiegne. broughr to <tn admission ot his !'Llilt by rnrrure and deni_ed prumuri1111.
not hinder chem from killing and plundering. This pan of their social condemntcl. rthabilirarecl. condemned once again. until the rract or his existeno:
function. an attribme of their class, a source of pride. Not to tear death was a vanishes from the documenrs
viral ne-cessicy foF.the knight. He had to light. The struccure and tensions of this
This is one of innumerable examples. The well-known miniatures from the
society made this an inescapablt condition for individuals
-'book of hours .. of rhe Due de Berry! i.' are another. .. People long belie\ecl. .. says
I Bur in meclit\al society this permanent readiness ro fight, weapon in hand,
its editor... and some are still convinced today. that the miniatures of the
was a viral necessity not only for the warriors, the knightly upper class. The life
fifteenth cenrun- are the work of earnest monks or pious nuns working in the
ot the burghers in rhe cowns was characte-rized by greater and lesser feuds ro a far
peace of their .monasteries. Thar is possible in certain cases. Bur. generally
higher degree- than in later rimes; here-, too, belligerence, hatred and JOY m
speaking, the situation was quire differe-nr Ir was worldly people, master
rormenting others were more- uninhibited than in the subsequent phase.
craftsmen. who executed rhese- beautiful works. and the life of these secular
\'Virh rhe slow rise of a Third Estate, the tensions in medieval socien were
artists was very far from being edifying. \Xie hear repeatedly of actions which by
increased. And ir was nor only rhe weapon of money that carried the b.urgher
the present standards of society would be branded as criminal and made socially_
upward Robbe-ry, lighting, pillage. family feuds-all this played a hardly less
.. impossible .. For example-, rhe painters accused each other of theft; then one of
important role in the life of the rown population than in that of rhe warrior class
i rstlf chem, with his kinsmen. srabbe-d the other to death in rhe srreec. And rhe Due
dt Berry. who needed rhe murderer, had to request an amnesty. a lettrc cle 1{111issirlil
Ch(lllges in the Beh:ll"iOill of the Swt!ar Upper (/,mes i11 the W'tst 169
168 The Ciz'ilizi11g P1ocess

_ . v belligerence or cruelty appears ro be contradictory. Religion, the

for him Yee. anod1er abducted 'in eight-year-old girl in order ro marry her. , chis pier,' v . , . . .
or . , pLinishin" or rewardin" omnipotence of God, never has m irselt a
naturally_ agamsc rht will of her parems. These /dtres de r.:missiol! show us such in r11e o o
.... "" or affect-subduing effect On rhe contrary, religion is always exactly
bloody feuds raking place everywhere, ofren lascing for many years, and ''CJVl(!Zino . . ,
somec1me.s leading .ro wild b,ur!es in public places or in che countryside. And
. d"' .1s rhe socierv or class which upholds ir And because emor10ns \\ere
"c1v1!Jze ' . . .
as . cl in a manner that in our own world is generally observed only m
chis applied ro knighcs <lS much ro merchams or crafrsmen. As in all other . . .......
.d we call these express10ns and forms of behav10ur childish
counmes wirh relared social forms-for example, Ethiopia or Afghanistan d11l ren, . . . .
\>Vherever one opens rhe documents of this nme, one hnds the same:. a I e
roday-che noble had bands of followers who were ready for anyching. "..
. l structure of affects was different from our own, an existence w1rhour
During che day he is consramly accompanied by serrnms and arms bearers wnere r 1e . .
. .th onlv minimal rhou"l1t for the future. \'Vhoever did nor love or hare
pursuic of his feuds' . The rr1t1trien, rhe cicizens, cannoc afford chis luxury, but secunt}, \\ 1 . "' . .
chey have cheir relacives and friends' who come ro cheir help, ofren in great h most in rhis societv. whoever could nor stand their ground m the play
coreut . .. .
s could "0 into a monasrerv; m worldlv lite they were JUSt as lost as
numbers, equipped wich every kind of awesome weapon rhac rhe local of passion , "' . . .
ersel' in hrer sooery ,rnd parncularlv at court, persons who could nor
che civic ordinances, prohibit in vain . And chese burghers, roo, when chey have con \ 1' ' . ' .

ro avenge themselves, are cit g1mn, in a srace of feud . 11 1 curb. their passions, could nor conceal and 'ci_vilize" their aHecrs.
The civic aurhoriries sought in vain ro pacify rhese family feuds. The ). In both cases it was the structure of society that required and generated a
magistrates call people before rhem, order a cessacion of strife, issue commands specific standard of emotional comrol. '\'Ve," .says Luchaire, with our peaceful
. . nd habits with rhe care and protecnon rhar rhe modern state Ln ishes
and decrees. For a time, ,i[l is well; then a new feud breaks our, an old one is manners '1 , . _ .
che property and person of each individual', can scarcely form an idea of rh1s
rekindled. Two c1ssocii.1 fall our over business; they quarrel, the conflicc grows 00
,iolem; one day they meet in a public place and one of them strikes the other orher society.
dead. 11 ' An innkeeper accuses another of stealing his clients; they become mortal
enemies . Someone says a frw malicious words about another: a family war Ar rhar rime rhe counrry had disinregrarecl inro pro,inces. and rhe inhabi ranrs of each
develops . province formed a kind of lirde nation rhar abhorred all rhe ochers T:1e provinces were
Nor only among rhe nobility were there family vengeance, private feuds, in rum divided inro a mulrirnde of ieudal esrares whose owners toughr each
vendecras The fifreenth-cemury rowns were no less rife with wars between incessandv Nor only rhe grelf lords, rhe barons. bur also rht smaller lords or rhe
manor in desolare isolation and were uninrerrupredly occupied in \rn,t:ing v:ar
families and cliques The little people, roo-rhe hatters. rhe cailors, rhe
against rheir "sovereigns', rheir equals or rheir subjecrs. In addirion, there was consrnnr
shepherds-were <lll quick ro draw their knives. 'Ir is well known how violenr
rivaln berween rown and rown, village and ,illage, rnlley and \alley. and consranr wars
manners were in rhe fifteenth cenrury, with what brutality passions were
neighbours d1ar seemed ro arise from rhe very mulripliciry of rhese rerrirorial
assuaged, despite die fear of hell, despite the restraints of class distinctions and ' 11-
rhe chirnlrous semirnenr of honour. tht bo11ho111i, ,mJ 1/ soda! units.

n:/dfjrJlJS .. 11r1

Not rhar people were always going around with fierce looks, drawn brows and This description helps us ro see more precisely something which so far has
martial counrenarn:es as rhe clearly visible symbols of their warlike prowess, On been srared mainly in general rerms, namely, rhe connection between che social
the contrary, <l moment ago chey were joking, now they mock each other, one structure and the structure of affecrs In this society there was no cenrral power
word leads ro another. and suddenly from rhe midst of laughter rhev find strong enough ro compel people ro exercise rescrainr. Bur if in this or rhar region
themselves in rhe fiercest feud. Much of what appears ro the power of a central authority grows, if over a larger or smaller area the people
intensity of their piety, the violence of their fear of hell, their guilt rheir are forced to live in peace with each other, the moulding of affects and rhe
penitence, che immense outbursts of joy and gaiety, the sudden flaring and rhe scandards of rhe drive-econom\ are very gradually changed as well. As will be
uncontrollable force of their barred and belligerence-all rhese, like rhe rapid discussed in more derail larer, .the reserve and 'murnal consideration" of people
changes of mood, are in reality symptoms of one and rhe same structuring of the increase, first in normal everyday social life. And rhe disclmrge of affects in
emotional life. The drives, the emotions were vented more freely, more directly, physical arrack is limited ro cerrain temporal and spatial enclaves Once rhe
more openly than later. Ir is only to us, in whom everything is more subdued, monopoly of physical power has passed to central authorities, nor every srro_ng
moderate <rnd calculated, and in whom social raboos are built much more deeply man can afford the pleasure of physical arrack. This is now reserved ro those few
legitimized bv the central authority (e g , rhe police against rhe criminal), and ro
inro the fabric of our drive-economy as self-resrraims, that rhe unveiled intensity . .
The Ciz'i/i::,i11g PmctSs

elsewhere how rhe use of the sense of smell. rhe tendency ro sniff ar food
larger numbers only in exceprional rimes of war or revolll(ion, in rhe social!\'
n"s lns come rn be restricred as somerhing animal-like. Here we see
leg1r1m1zed srrugglt agarnsr internal or excernal enemies. Cother [ llJ C ' L
0 ' , f rhe interconnections through which a clitftrent sense organ, the eye. has
BL!( even rhe_se remporal _or spacial enclaves wirhin civilized sociery in which 0
one on a very specific significance in ciYilized society. In a_ similar way co the
aggressneness. is allowed freer play-abovt all, wars berween narions-have
erh,1ps even more so. it has become a mediarnr ot pleasure. precisely
_become mor_e impersonal. and lead and less rn affecrive discharges _as srrong
ear, pl e direcr satisfanion of rhe desire for pleasure has been hemmed in by
ar:d IIHense ,1s rn rhe medieval phase. The necessary rescra1nt and rranstormation because t 1 . . .
of aggression culrrrnred in rhe everyday life of civilized sociery cannot be simplv a mu ltitude of b,1rriers and proh1b1t1ons. _ . . .
eri within chis transfer of emotions from drrect act10n w speetanng,
reversed. even in rhese enclaves. All rhe same, this could happen more But ev . . ,. .
. been a distinn curve of moderation and 'human1zanon Ill rhe
rhan \H: rn1ghr suppose. had nor rhe direcr physical combar berween a man and there lMS .
-tormarion of affects The boxing march. to mennon only one example.
hrs hared given way rn a mechanized srruggle which required a srrict tr,an , - . . - . cl
, stronlv rem1Jered torm ot rhe impulses of aggressiveness an
control ot rhe artecrs. In rhe civilized world. even in war individuals can no represents '1 c- _- _ _ .
longer give free rein rn rheir pleasure, s1mrred on bv. rhe si buJu of rhe enem"y, but cruelty, compared with rhe visual pleasures ot e<1rl1er stages.. . .
An example from the sixteenth century may serve as an illusmmon. Ir has
muse hghr, no mauer how rhey may fetl, according to rhe commands of invisible
been chosen from a mulEitude of others because it shows an institution in whrch
or only indirecdy visible leaders, againsr a frequendy invisible or only indirectlv
.. il sirr.sfacrion of the ur<'e to cruelrv. rhe jov in watching parn mfl1cred,
enemy. And immense social upheaval and urgency, heightened r he V lSLh ' ' b
in a panicularly pure form. without any rational jusrificarion or disguise
rnrdulh _concerted propaganda, are needed co reawaken and legirimize in large
m<1sses ot people rhe socially omlawed drives. die joy in killing and desrruction as a punishment or means of discipline. _ _ . _
In Paris during the sixEeenrh cenrnry ir was one ot the fesnve pleasures of
rhar h,1,e been repressed from everyday civilized life.
.Midsummer Day w burn alive one or EWO dozen cats. This ceremony was very
G. Admirredly. these affecrs do have, in a "refined" and more rationalized form
famous. The populace assembled. Solemn music was played. Under a kind ot
rheir legirimare and exactly defined place in Ehe eH:ryday life of civilized societ;
scaffold an enormous pyre was erecred. Then a s,1ck or basker conrnining die cars
And rhis is \ery characteristic of Ehe kind of uansformarion Ehrough which d;e
was hung from rhe scaffold The sack or basker beg1rn w smoulder. The cats tell
civiliz,1rion of rhe affecrs rakes place For example, belligerence and aggression
imo the fire and were burned w dearh. while rhe crowd re,elled in their
find socially permirred expression in sponing comesrs. And rhey are expressed
caEerwauling. Usually the king and queen were presem. Sometimes the king or
especi,11ly in specrnting" (e.g .. at boxing marches). in the imaginarv iclemifica-
the dauphin was given the honour of lighti_ng Ehe pyre. And we hear thaE once;
tion wirh a small number of combarams to whom moderaLte preciselv
regulared scope is gramed for Ehe release of such affecrs. And this living-om ;f the si)ecial requesr of King Charles IX. a fox \V<JS caught and burned as we_,ll
This was nor lw anv means re<1lly a worse spectacle rhan the burnrng of
affects in specraring or e\en in merely listening (e.g., to a radio is
heretics. or rht ,rnd public extcurions of ewry kind. Ir only appears
a panicu!arly characrerisEic feature of ci,ilized society Ir partly determines- rhe
worse because rhe joy in torturing living crearnres is rnealed so nakedly and
de,elopmem of books and rhe d1eaue, and decisiveh- influences rhe role of rhe
purposelessly. wirhout <lllY excuse before re,1son . The revulsion aroused in us b1:
cinema in our world . This rransformarion of what m;rnifested irself originallv as
Eht mere repon of rhe institution. a reaction which musE be taken as "normal
an accive. often aggressive expression of pleasure. into the passive. mor:
for the present-day standard of aHecr control, demonstrates once again rhe long-
pleasure of specrnring (i e .. a mere pleasure of rhe en:) is alreadv iniriared in
term chan<'t of rhe affecr-economv Ar rhe same time. ir enables us to see one
education. in rhe condicioning preceprs for young -
aspecr of change panicularly much of what earlier pleasure
In che 177-i edition of La Salle's Cit'iliti, for example. we read (p 23):
arouses displeasure rnd<1y Now, as rhen. ir is nor merely individual feelmgs rhaE
children like to touch clothes and other things rh<u please them wirh their
are ill\olvedc The caE-burning on Midsummer Day was a social institurion. like
hands. This urge muse be correcred, and they musE be raughr to much all rhey
boxing or horse-racing in presem-day society. And in both cases rhe
see only with their eyes."
creared bv socieEV for iEself. <lre embodimems of a social sEandard of <lttecrs
_By now this precept is taken almost for gramed. Ir is highly cluracceristic
wirhin of which all incliYidual panerns of affect regulation.
ot ci\ilized people tlut rhey are denied by socially insrillecl self-comrols from
however varied rhe\ rnav be, are contained; anyone who steps outside the bounds
spomaneously rnuching what rhey desire. love or hare . The whole moulding of
their gesrnres-no m<1rrer how irs parrern may difter among \\!estern naEions
oC this social sranciarcl i.s considered "abnormal" Thus. someone who wished to
grnEify his or her pleasure in the manner of the sixteemh century by burning cars
wirh regard rn paniculars-is decisi,tly influenced by this necessiEy Ir has been
- Tht Cirilizi11g Pmcess

would be seen toda\_ as "abnorm l" j b l

. a . simp y ecause norma condirioninu clas::,,. To com1)lemenr chis, and at the same rime to provide a link with the
f . 1 b 10 0Ur
stage o cn-1 1zacion restrains the expression of pleasure in such ice ions ti of [ht causes of rht change these standards underwent, we shall now acid
. . . ' 1rough
anxiety insnlled as self-control. Here, obvioush. rhe simnle jJsuc! j ' pression of che wav in which knights lived, and drns of the "social
l . - ' : 10 ogicaJ 5hoF 1111 L
mec 1anisrn is at work on the basis of which rhe loni.::-rerm clnnne of jJ4rs 0
"W lUC -11 societv. Oj)tned to individuals of noble birth, and wirhin which it
I . L ' "" Lona.11:tr
scrucrure 1as taken place: socially undesirable expressions of drives and )j 1
.- .. 1 rhem The [Jicture of this "social space". the image of the knight in
are ch e cl cl l d I easure also conm1cu . . . . - . .
r arene an punis 1e w1cl1 measures char generate displeasure and anxi . became clouded 111 obscuncy qu1[e soon after what 1s called their
or allow chem ro becom cl . I l . tty
e omrn,mr. n c 1e constant recurrence of disj)l . .. \'vhe[her che medieval warrior came to be seen as rhe "noble knight"
1rouse I b l cl easure "dee Irne ' _ . . . .. .
' c j t 1rears, an rn the habituation ro this rhvchm rhe do [he grand, beamiful, adventurous and movrng aspeccs of his life berng
dis ,j . . . . minant
I easurt is compulsorily associated even with behaviour which ac root mav b
membered) or as rhe "feudal lord", the oppressor of peasants (only rhe
pleasurable In chis manner. socially aroused displeasure and anxietv-no . d, e
cl l \va ays re b<1rbaric aspects of his life being emphasized), rhe simple picrnre ot rhe
represente _. r 1ough by no means always and by no means solely. by the
acnia l l If-,, of chis class is usually disrorred by values and nosrnlgia from rht
L .
parenrs-hghr with hidden desires. \'Vhar has been shown here from differ
eriod of rhe observer A few drawings, or at lease clescripr1ons ot may help
angles as an advance in the frontiers of shame, in rhe threshold of repui.::nance p [ore rhis f'icrnre. Apart from a few writings, rhe works of sculptors and
the standards of affect. has probably been set in morion by mechanis; s such in . . -.
rhese. 1 as of. the period convey 1)articularlv srronglv the special quality ot 1rs
paimer 5 .. . : . ...
atmosphere or. as we may call 1r. rts emononal character, and the way rt cl1Heres
.Ir remains to be considered in greater derail what changes in rhe social .-
rron1 OLir ciw11 ' chouuh . a few works reflect che life of a kniglu
:::. onlv '- in its real
structure actually mggered these psychological mechanisms. what changes in the context One of rhe few picrnre-books of chis kind, admirtedly from a relatively
constrarnrs j)eople on eacl1 or! l " 1 ..
L 1er set t 11s c1n 1zanon of 1ttecrs d late period, between 1-i/5 and l-i80, is rhe sequence of drawings that became
behaviour in morion. ' an
known under che nor very appropriate ride 1\Ialicmf Hol!Je-Book (see Appendix
ID. The name of the anise who drew chtm is unknown. but he muse have been
XI verr familiar with che knightly life of his rime; moreover, unlike many of his
craftsmen. he must have seen rhe world with the eyes of a knight and
Scenes from the Life hir<'eh identified with cheir social values. A. nor insignificant indication of chis is
of a Knight hi;'"' on one sheer of a man of his own craft as the only craftsmen in
courtly dress, as is rhe girl behind him. who places her arm on his shoulder and
The question why people's behaviour and emotions change is reallv rhe same as
for he clearly his feelings. Perhaps it is a self-poruair. 11 ''
the _quesrwn why their forms of living change. In medieval socien .certain forms These drawings (see Appendix II) are from che lace knightly period. rhe rime
ot bte had b_een developed. and indi\icluals were bound to live them as of Charles che BolJ and Maximilian, the hm knight.. \Xie may conclude from the
kn_i:1'hrs, m bondsmen. In more recent society different opporrunir;es, coats of arms char these cwo, or knights close to them, are themselves represented
forms_ of livrng came to be pre-given. ro which individuals had to adapt. in one or another of che picrures . "There is no doubt, .. ir has been said, "rhar we
Ir they were ot the nobility they could lead the life of a courtier. But [hev could have Charles rhe Bold himself or a Burgundian knight from his entourage
longer. even if they so desired (and many did), lead rhe less lite before us " 12 " Perhaps a number of the pictures of tournaments directly depict
of a kniglu From a parcicular time on. this funcrion, this wav of life was no the jousting following che Feud of Neuss ( l-i 7 5 ), at the betrothal of Maximilian
longer pre_sent in the srrucmre of society Orher functions. as rhose of the co Charles rhe Bald's daughrer. Marie of Burgundy" Ar any race, chose we see
guild craftsman and the priest, which played an extraordinary pan in the before us are already people of the transitional age in which the knightly
med'.eval largely lost their significance in rhe total structure of social arisrocracv was being gradually replaced by a courtly one. And a good deal char
relanons. \'Vhy do these functions and forms of life, to which individuals must is remini;cent of the courtier is also present in these pinures. Nevertheless, they
adap[ themselves as to more or less fixed moulds. change in the course ofhistorv? give, on che whole, a very good idea of rhe social space of a knight, of how he
As lns bee l l
'. n menr1onec, t 11s is really the same quescion as whv fet!ini.::s and filled his days, of what he saw around him and how he saw it.
emotions, the strucmre of drives and impulses, and everything with \Vhat do .we see; Nearly always open country. hardly anything recalling the
them change.
rown. Small villages, fields, trees. meadows. hills. shore stretches of river and.
A good deal has been said here abom the emotional standards of rhe medieval frequently, the castle . Bm there is nothing in these pictures of the nostalgic

mood. rhe sentimenrnl' auiwde rn "narnrt that slowly bernmt ptrceptib!e nor ,. rerior is visible, and a pig behind him is sniffing ar ir A frail old woman,
very long atterwards. as rht leading nobles had ro foruo more tnc'1 11'5 pOS b .I l cl .
_ ,'- c ' 01 ore ' in rags, limps by suppontd on a crmch. In a small caw esrc t r 1e roa sns
trtqutndy the_ rtlatiwly unbridled lift ar their ancesrral stars, and were bound wirh his hands and feer in rhe srocks, and beside him a woman wrrh one
1ncreasrngly nghrly rn rhe semi-urban courr and rn dqx:ndtnct on kin"s ( l1t, 'rticks. - rhe ocher in feErers ,-\ farm workc:r is roiling ar a waEercourse
. Tl . . - 6 0r II1
pnncts: 11s ts one ot rhe mosr imponant ditforences in tmorional wne that .. hes berween rrees and hills . In rhe disrnnce we see rhe farmer and his
rhar hmrs . . - . . " -
rhtse ptcrnres conn:y. In lacer periods rht anises consciousness sifrs rhe material LLL1 oriouslv
$0 11 l.-L . 11louuhrnu
b b rhe h1llv . held wtrh a horse. Snll rurrher back
arndable w him in a n:ry srricr and specific way which direcdy txprtssts his ri"s is beinu ltd rn rhe ...._,L:allows. an armtd man wirh a teacher in his cap
a rrn1n in t- ei . . .
rnsrt or_. more precisely, his affecrin: srrucrnre. i\arure- rhe open country,
mare I11n,,." rnroudlr- btside him: ar his ocher stdt. a monk ll1 his_ cowl .
holds out a
shown hrsr of all as merely a background ro human figures, wok on a nosralgic l (th-x w him Behind him ridt rhe kmghr and rwo ot his men. On rhe
forge crt . , . '- . ,. . .
glow, as rhe confintmtnt of rhe upper class rn rhe rowns and courrs incrtased
rop o1c 1 j1c, 11 111 snnds
, ,
rht ""nallows
wnh a boclv, hanL:rng
- , ,
rrom 1r, and rht \vhetl
rhe rifr berween rown and country lift grew more perctprible. Or narnre wok on ' . cori1 st on ir. Dark brrds fh around; one of chem pecks ar rhe corpse.
wrrn '1
like rht human figures it surrounded in rhe piccure_ a sublime. n:prtsemariv; The gallows is nor in rhe lease emphasized. Ir is rhere like rhe scream or a rree:
characrer. Ar any rare. rhtrt was a change in rht .reki"tir111 /;_i icli11g, in what and it is seen in jusr rhe same way when rhe knighr goes hunting. A whole
appealed w feeling in rhe rtprtsentarion of narnrt, and in whar was ftlr as company rides pasr, rhe lord and lady ofren on rhe same horse. The deer vanish
unpleasant or painful And rhe same is rrut of rht people depicrecl For the lnro a )irrle wood: a srng setms w be wounded. Furrher rn rhe background one
public in rht: absolure cuurr. much char realh txisred in rht countn-, in narure" sees a lirde village or perhaps rht yard of a household-:-well, mill wheel,
was no longer ponrayed. The hill was bur nor rhe gallows -on ir. nor Jn.11"ll '1 ttw builclinns
wine c- , Tht farmer is seen 11loughinL:
._ '- a held: he looks round
corpse hanging from rhe gallows. The field was shown, bur no longer rht ragged ar die deer. which are jusr running across his field . High up ro ont side is rht
ptasant laboriously driving his horses. Jusr as ewryrhing common or "vulgar" casde: on rhe ocher, smaller hill opposire. wheel and gallows wirh a body. and
disappeared from courdy languagt, so ir rnnishtd also from rht picrures and birds circling
drawings inttndtd for rht courdy upptr class. The gallows. rhe symbol of rht knighr's judicial power. is pan of rhe
In rht drawings of rht Ho11.rt-Br,r1h. which gi\t an idta of rhe fttling-srructure background of his lift Ir may nm be \ery imporranr, but ar any rare, ir is nor a
of rht lart mediernl upptr class. rhis is nor so Hert, all chest rhings-i.:allows parricularly painful sighr. Sentence. txecurion, dearh-all chest art immediarely
ragged servants, labouring peasants-are w bt seen in drawings a; in ;ea) life'. present in chis lift. They. rno. have nor yer been remo\ed behind rhe scenes
Thty art nor emphasized in a spirir of proresr. in rhe manner of lacer rimes, but And rhe samt is uue of rhe poor and rhe labourers. "\\!ho would plough our
shown as somerhing n:ry marrtr-of-fi1cr, pan of ont"s dailv surroundings, like rhe fields for us if vou were all lords-_ asks Berrhold von Regensburg in one of his
swrks nesr or rht church rower. One is no more painfui in life rhan' rht ocher. sermons in rhe -d1irreenth centun-. 121 And elsewhere he even more clearly: I
and so is nor more painfi.d in rht picrnrt. On rhe conuan-. as t\en-whtrc: in the shall cell vou Chrisrian folk how Almighry God has ordered Chrisrc:ndom.
Middle Ages. ir was an inseparable pan of rht txisrtnce. of rhe rich and noble dividini.: inw rtn kinds of people. "and whar kinds of services Ehe lower owe
rhar rhere also exisrtd peasams and crafrsmen working for chem, and bei.:i.:ars and the hiL:l1er as rheir rulers. The firsr d1fet are rhe highesr and mosE exalred whom
cripples wirh optn hands. There was no rhrtar w rht noble in chis. n:i; did he Almi,:hrv God himself chose and ordained, so char rht ocher seven should all be
identify in any way wirh rhtm: tht sptcracle evoked no painful fetling. And r-o rhtm and strve chem" ice The same arrirude rn lift is srill found in
ofrtn enough rht yokel and peasant wert rhe objecrs of pleasantries ' these picrurts from rhe fifreenrh century. Ir is nor disrnsrefuL ir is pan of rhe
The picrures reveal rht same arrirnde. Firsr rhere is a sequence of drawings namral and unquesrioned order of rhe world char warriors and nobles have leisure
showing people undtr panicular consrellations. They are not grouptd directly rn amuse rhemselves. while rhe ochers work for chem There is no identificarion
around rht knighr, bm rhey make clear how and \vhar he saw around him. Then of person wirh person. Nor even on rhe horizon of chis life is chert an idea char
comes a series of pages showing how a knighr spends his life, his ocrnparions and all ptoplt are equal. Bur perhaps for char very reason rhe sighr of rhe labourers
his pleasures Measured by lacer rimes. rhey all bear wirntss w rhe same srnndard has abom ir nmhing shameful or embarrassing.
of repugnance and the same social arrirndes A picrnre of rhe shows rht pleasures of rhe lords. A young lady of rhe
Ar rhe beginning, for example, we see people born uncltr Sarurn . In rhe nobiliry crowns her young friend with a wrearh; he draws her w him. Another
foreground a poor fellow is disembowelling a dead horse or perhaps curring off pair go walking in a close embrace. The old senant woman pulls an angry face
rhe usable mear His rrousers have slipped down somewhar as ht bends: pare of at rhe lo\e o'-
w1mes of rhe vounu jJeOjJle Nearb\. rhe servants are \\orking. One of
ii! the Bdv1io11r rl the Semlar Uf'f'tr Classes in the \\lest 177
The Ciz'ili::;i11g Process

them sweeps the rnrcL anocher grooms che horse, a chird scaners food for the ne looks at che hericage of che medieval upper class, one finds chis
Wherever o . .. . - l-
ducks, but the maid waves to him from the window; he turns round, soon he wi]J
arntu de in rn
._ unrescra111ed
.. form. Ihe further 111terclependence and c le
disappear into the house . Noble ladies at play. Peasam amics behind them. On of Jabour in society advance. the more dependenc die upper classes
che roof che stork claccers. che other classes, ;rnd the greater, therefore, becomes che social
become on . .
Then chere is a small courcyard by a lake On che bridge srands a young f these classes, ac least potennally. Even when che upper class was still
strengt 1 o . .. . fl '
nobleman wich his wife . Leaning on che baluscrade chey wacch the sen-ams in the . 1, , \\.. irrior class. when it kepc the ocher classes dependent ch1e )
nrtn1an ) 1 '
water cacching fish and ducks. Three young ladies are in a boar. Rushes. bushes r l he sword and che monopolv of weapons. some degree ot dependence on
throug i c . - . L

in the disrance the walls of a small town ' r chsses w'lS cerra111lr not ent1relr absent Bm it was 111comparabl)
these oc l1 e ' ' , . ..
Or we see workmen building a house in from of a wooded hill. The lord and coo--as will be seen in greater derail later-was rhe pressure tram
less: an cl less ' _ ' _ . .
lady of the castle look on. Tunnels have been driven imo che litde hill t0 quarry below. Accordingly. che sense ot mastery of the upper class. itS contempt tor
stones. \\!orkmen are seen hewing che stones; others care them away. Nearer other classes, was far more open, and che press1'.re on upper-class people co
us, men are working on che half-finished building. In the foreground workmen exercise resrraint and co control their drives, was tar scrong. . _
are quarrelling; they are about co stab and strike each other down. The lord of Seldom has the matter-of-fact sense of mastery ot chis class, and 1cs selt-
the casde srancls nor far from them . He shows his wife che angry scene; the confidenr, pacriarchal comempt of ochers, been so vividly conveyed as in chese
com piece calm of the lord and his wife is placed in sharp comrast to the excited , s This is expressed not onh in the gesture with which the nobleman
dra\-vtn.! - - (_,
gtswrts of the disputants. The rabble fighc, the lord has nothing to do wich it. shows liis wife che quarrelling craftsmen and che workers in a kind of foundry
He lives in <ll1ocher sphere. who are holding cheir noses ro ward off the foul vapours; not only where the lord
Ir is nor the events themselves, which in part are no clifferem coclay. but above watches his servants catching fish. or in che repeated depiction of rhe gallows
all rhe fact and the manner of their portrayal that underline the changed with a corpse hanging from ic: buc also in che matter-of-fact and casual way in
tmorional strucwre. The upper classes of later phases did nor have such chings which the nobler gestures of che knight are juxtaposed co the coarse ones of the
drawn . Such drawings did noc appeal co cheir feelings. They were noc .. beau- people.
tiful .. They did noc form pare of "'art"' In later periods it is at mosc among the There is a picture of a cournamenc. Musicians play Fools cut clumsy capers.
Durch (who depicc middle-class. specifically uncourtly strata) tliac we find. for The noble specrarors on cheir horses, often the lord and lady on the same horse.
example, in che work of Breughel a standard of repugnance char permics him to are conversing, The peasants, the cicizens, the doctor, all recognizable by cheir
bring cripples. peasams, gallows or people relieving chemselves inco his picrnres. dress, look on. The cwo knights, somewhat helpless in cheir heavy armour, waic
Bm che standard chere is linked with very differem social feelings chan in these at the centre Friends advise chem. One of chem is just being handed the long
pictures of the late medieval upper class. lance Then the herald blows his crumpec. The knights charge ac each other with
Here. it is a marcer of course thac the labouring classes exisc. Thty art even rheir lances levtlledo And in the background. concrascing co che c11111rnis activities
indispensable figures in che landscape of knightly exiscence. The lord Ji\es in of rhe mascers. we see the vulgar pascimes of the people. a horse race
their midsc. Ic does nm shock him to see che serYant working beside him Nor accompanied by all kinds of nonsense. A man hangs on co che rail of one of the
does ic shock him-if the latter amuses himself in his own way. On the contrary, horses. The rider is furious. The ochers whip cheir horses and make off at a
it is an imegrnl part of his self-esceem ro have chese other people moving about somewhat groresqut gallop.
him who are noc like him. whose master he is, This feeling is expressed ;1gain and \\le see a military camp. A circular barricade has been made wich che gun
again in che drawings. There is scarcely one of them in which c1111rtfJis occupacions carriages, \\ii chin it srancl resplendent rents wich their different coats of <lrms and
and gestures are noc contrasted co the vulgar ones of che lower classes . \\!hecher banne,rs. among them che imperial banner. At the centre. surrounded by his
he rides, hums, loves or dances, whatever the lord does is noble and Clil!rtois, knights we see the kin" or even the emjJeror himself. A messenger on horseback
(_, ' b
whatever che servants and peasants do coarse and uncouch. The feelings of the is just brinc,in" him a messa<'e Bue at che gate of che camp, beggar women sit
medieval upper class did nm yec demand chat everyching vulgar should be with their their hands. a man in armour on horseback
suppressed from life and therefore from pictures . Ic was gratifying for the nobles brings in a fettered. Furcher back we see a peasant ploughing his field
co know chemselves different from ochers. The sight of contmsts heightt11ed jliJ in Omsicle the rampart, bones lie abom, animal skelecons. a dead horse with a crow
lfri11g: and we should remember thac. in a milder form, something of che pJe,1sure and a wild clog earing ic. Close ro a wagon a crouching serrnnt relieves himself
taken in such conm1scs is sci!! co be found, for example. in Shakespeare. Or we se; knighcs actacking a village under che sign of Mars. In the
in the Bchdl'ifJ!ll" o/ the Sw1!ar Uf'Jicr C!cJS.res i11 the Wi:st 179

foreground, one of die soldiers is scabbing a prostrate peasant: on rhe ri''ht . irher in his har others have garlands in their hair. Perhaps we are looking
large ttC< ' L

apparently in a chapel, a second man is scabbed and his possessions are . l ot slow dance . Behrnd stand three bovs makrng music; there is a table
. 0
k !11C l .

a. war . 0 n t l1e root the srorks _sir peacefullv

in rheir nest FL1rrher back 1' jJeasant
l]{" . c . . .
fruits and dnnk and a young iellow leamng agamst it, w 10 JS t0 serve.
is trymg ro escape over the fence. bur a knight on his horse holds him by th Ar rhe opposite side. enclosed by a fence and gate, is a lirtlt garden. Trees
protruding of his A peasant woman cries our. wringing her - ki nd of bower. beneath which is an oval bathtub. In it sits a voung man,
. . ..... , .
peasant m terrers, doleful and wretched. is being beaten over the head by a
mtke<l.. \"ho o
urabs eaerlv
o .. at a naked girl who JS JUSt cl1mbmg <....
mto the bath \nth
knight on horsebacL Further back horsemen are setting tire ro a house: one of .,: As ibove an old female servant who is bringing fruits and drinks surYeys
Ium. 1 :1. ' (._, <....

them drives off the car de and strikes at the farmers wife who is rn-in ,, ro st
. . . . , . "' op tl1e lo\'e c' w1me of rhe .voung '-' jJeo1Jle with an angrv
._, - face. And as the masters arouse
him: abow. Jn the little rower ot the village church, the peasants huddle diernselves in the foreground, so do the servants in the background . One of them
rogerher, and frightened faces look out of the window. In the far distance, on a falls upon a maid who lies on the ground with her skirts already pulled up He
sma_ll hill, srands a forrified monastery: behind the high walls one sees rhe church looks round once more ro see whether there is anyone nearby. On the other side,
roof with a cross on it. Somewhat higher up, on a hill. a castle or another part
rw 0 \ oLH1" o fellows of the common !Jeople are dancing <-
around, flinging their arms
of the monastery.
and legs like .Morisco dancers; a third plays for them..
These are rhe ideas suggested ro rhe artist by the sign of the god of waL The Or we set, likewise in the open country, a small srone bathhouse with a small
picture is wonderfi.dly full of life . As in a number of rhe ocher drawings. one feels yard in front of it surrounded by a stone wall. \Ve can see a little beyond it. A
that something that has been really- experienced is before one's eyes. One has this is indicated, bushes, a row of trees leading inro the distance. In r'.1e yard
feeling because these pictures are nor yet "sentimental'', because they do nor young couples are sirring and walking about; one of them admires the tashion-
express the greater of the emotions which from now on. for a long fountains, others converse, one of the young men with a falcon on his hand
per10d, caused rhe arr ot rhe upper class ro express more and more exclusivelv its Dogs, a little monkey. Potted plants
wishful fanrnsies, and compelled it ro suppress everything that conflicted ;virh \Vt can see inro the bathhouse through a large, open, arched window. Two
this advancing standard of repugnance. These pictures simply narrate how the young men and a girl sit naked in the water, side by side, and talk. A second girl,
knight sees and feels the world . The sifring of fet!ing, the grid placed on the undressed, is just opening the door ro climb inro the water with them.
affects which admits to the picture what is pleasurable and excludes what is In large open rnulr of the bathhouse a boy sirs playing something t0 the
painful or embarrassing. allows many facts ro pass unimpeded which later attain bathers on his guitar.. Under the arch is a tap from which tht water runs . In front
expression only when a conscious or unconscious protest against rhe upper class of che little house, drinks are placed ro cool in a small tub of water. On a table
censoring of drives is being expressed, and are then somewhat overemphasized. next rn it are fruits and a gobler; at the table is a young man, a wreach in his hair
Here the peasant is neither pitiable nor a represenrati\e of virtut. Nor is he a and his head supported elegantly on his hands. Above, from the second floor of
represemative of ugly vict . He is simply miserable and somewhat ridiculous, the bathhouse. a maid and a servant watch the masters enjoying themselves
exactly as the knight sets him . The world revolves around the knid1r. Hun"f\' In this picture, as one can see, the erotic relation between men and women is
L 0 ,
clogs, begging women. rotting horses. servams crouching against rhe ramparts, much mort open than in the later phase, where it is hinted at in social life, as in
villages in Hames, peasams being plundered and killed-all this is as much a pictures, in a way rhac is comprehensible to all bur nevertheless half-concealed.
part of the landscape of rhese people as are tournaments and hums . So God made Nakedness is noc yet associated with shame ro the extent that, ro circumvent
tht world: some are rulers. rht ochers bondsmen. There is nothing embarrassing internal and external social controls, it can only appear in picrurts sentimentally,
about all this.
as rht costume, so to speak, of the Greeks and Romans.
And the same difference in standards of feeling between even this late Bm neither is rhe naked body depicted here in the way it sometimes appeared
knightly society and the subseguem society of the absolute courrs is also shown in lacer rimes, in "private drawings" passed secretly from hand ro hand. These
in the representation of love. There is a picture of people under rhe sign of love scenes are anything but "obscene" Love is presented here like anything else
Venus. Again we look far imo rhe open coumrv. There are little hills, a in the life of the knight, rournamenrs, hums, campaigns or plunderings. The
meandering rin:r, bushes and a small wood . In the three or four pairs scenes are nor particularly stressed: one does nor feel in their representation
of young nobles. always a young lord and a young lady together; they walk in a anything of the violence, the tendency ro excite or gratify a wish-fulfilment
ro the sound of music. ceremonioush-..
b . '
all with the lonn-roed
c ' denied in life that is characteristic of everything "obscene" This picture does nor
tashionable shoes. Their movements are measured and rounded: one noble has a come from a repressed mind: it does nor reveal something "secret" by violating
180 The Cil'i!izing Proccrs i11 the Beha1io11r of the Semien- UP/Jf:r Classes i11 the \Vut 181

taboos. It seems quire carefree. Here, too, the arrisr drew what he must have S" n clerical society; these differences remain to be examined in derail They
menr10 . . . __
l:imself often enough in life. And on account of this unconcern, this . ble in these pictures, 1f rhe measured and somet1mes even attecred
are vis1 -
tacrness with which, compared to our standard of shame and embarrassment h of rhe nobles are compared ro rhe clumsy movements of rhe servants and
. ,t e
relat10ns between the sexes are presented, we call this attiwde naive Even in
the Hwm-Book we occasionally a joke which is (to our taste) thoroughly The expressions of feeling of medieval people were, on the whole, more
coarse, as also m other artists of this phase-for example, Master E. F. and us and unrestrained than in rhe following period. Bm rher were nor
sponta neo . . . . .
copied from him, in the p?pularizing "Master with the iined or without soC1al mouldmg m anv ahsol!!t1: sense. In this respect
unres tr ,
oles And the adopt10n of such motifs b\ a pojJU!arizinu CO)Jvist who rhere is no zero point. The person without restrictions is a phantom Admittedly,
. b .. ' Was
possibly even a monk, indicates how different was the social standard of shame. the narure, suengrh, and elaboration of rhe prohibitions, controls and depend-_
These things are depicted with the same matter of facrness as some detail of
enc1e- cliin<'e
' o in a hundred wavs . ' and with them the tension and equilibrium of
cloching. Ir is a joke, certainly a coarse one, _if we like to call it that, but really che emocions, and likewise rhe degree and kind of gratification rhar individuals
coarser than the 1oke the art1st permits himself when he makes the shirt-tail and find.
of the plundered and fleeing peasant stick out so that the knight can catch hole! Taken rogerher, these pictures give a certain impression of where rhe knights
of it, or when he gives the old servant surveying the love games of the sou.ghr and found gratification. Ar rhis rime they may already have lived more
people an angry express10n, as if mocking her for being too old for such at court than earlier. Bur castle and manor, hill, stream, fields and
villages, uees and woods still formed the background of rheir lives; they were
_ All these were expressions of a society in which people gave way to driws and taken for granted and regarded quire wirhom sentimenraliry. Here they were at
feelings incomparably more easily, quickly, spontaneously and openly than today, home, and here they \Vere rhe masters. Their lives \Vere characteristically divided
m which the emotions were less restrained and, as a consequence, less evenlv between war, rournaments, hunts and love.
regulated and more liable to oscillate more violently between extremes But in rhe fifteenth century itself, and more so in rhe sixteenth, this changed.
this srandard of regulation of the emotions, which was characteristic of the \Vhole At rhe semi-urban courts of princes and kings, partly from elements of the old
secular society of the Middle Ages, of peasants as of knights, there were certainly nobility and partly from new rising elements, a new arisrocracy formed with a
considerable variations And the people conforming ro this standard were new social space, new functions, and accordingly a different emotional strLIC-
subjected ro a large number of drive controls Bur these were in a different rure.
direction: they were nor of the same degree as in later periods, and rhev did not People felt this difference themselves and expressed ir. In 1562 a man named
rake the form of a constant, even, and almost automatic self-conrrol. Th.e kind of Jean du Peyrar translated Della Casa's book on manners into French. He gave it
integration and interdependence in which these people lived did nor compel tht tide Gt1!atc!e Oil !t1 mt1nir:n: d COillllle ft gcntilhr1111111f se doit go111r.1?Jtr 01 !Oith:
them to resuain their bodily funcrions before each orher or ro curb rheir (Galarto, or rht manner in which the gentleman should conduct himself
aggressive impulses ro the same extent as in rhe following phase. This applied to in all company). And even in this title rhe increased compulsion now imposed on
everyone. Bur of course, for the peasants rhe scope for aggression was more rhe nobles was clearly expressed. Bur Peyrar himself, in his introducrion, explicitly
restricted than frw the knighrs-resrricred, that is, ro their own kind . For the stressed rhe difference between the demands rhar life used to make on the knight
knights, by contrast. aggression was less restricted outside their own class rhan and rhose which were now made on rhe noblemen by life in court:
wirhin it. for here ir came to be regulated by the code of chivalrv. A sociallv
generated restraint was ar rimes imposed on peasants by rhe simple rhat The entire virrue and perfection of rhe gentleman. your lordship. does nor consist in
did not have enough ro ear. This certainly represents a restriction of drives of rhe correctly spurring a horse. handling a lance, siEring straight in one's armour. using
highest degree, which expressed itself in the whole behaviour of a human being. every kind of weapon. behaving modestly among ladies. or in rhe pursuit of love: for
this is another of rhe exercises attributed to the gentleman. There is, in addition.
Bur no one paid attention ro this, and their social siwarion scarcelr made it
service ar table before kings and princes. the manner of adjusting ones language
necessary for them to impose constraint on themselves when blowin" ;heir noses
b towards people according to their rank and quality. their glances, gesrures and even the
or spitting or snatching food at rable. In this direction, coercion in the knightly
smallest signs or winks they might give.
class was stronger. However uniform, therefore, the medieval standard of control
of emotions appears in comparison to later developments, it contained consider- Here, exactly rhe same things were enumerated as constituting the customary
able ditttrences corresponding to the srrarificarion of secular socien itself nor ro virtue, perfection, and acriv-iries of the noble as in the pictures of the H(Jlt.r,-Booh:
182 Proer:ss

fears of arms and love, Comrasrt:d rn rhtm wtrt rht addirional perfecrions and
rhe new sphere of life of rhe nobleman in rhe service of a prince. A new
consrraim, a new, more exrensivt comrol and regulation of behaviour than the old
knightly lift made eithtr nectssarl' or possible, was now demanded of rhe noble-
man . These were consequences of rht new, increased dependence in \vhich the
noble was now placecL He is no longer rhe rtlarively fret man, rhe masrer in his
own casde, whose casdt is his homeland . He now lives ar courr He serves the
prince . He wairs on him ar table. And at court he lives surrounded by people, He
musr behave rnwarc!s each of rhem in exact accordance with rheir rank and his
own. He must learn to acljusr his gestures exacdy w rhe different ranks and
standing of rhe people ar courr, ro measure his language exacdy, and even to
control his eyes exacdy-, Ir is a new self-discipline, an incomparably srronger
reserl'e rhar is imposed on people by rhis new social space and the new ries of CIVILIZATION
i merdependence.
The arriwde whose ideal form was expressed by rhe concepr of a111rtoisie was
giving way rn anorher expressed more and mort by the concepr of ciz'ilite,
The translarion of G,datt11 by Jean du Peyrar represems rhis rransirional period
linguisrically as welL Up rn 1530 or 1535 rhe concepr of co111tr1isie predominated
more or less exclusi\'ely in France. Towards rhe end of rhe cenrury rhe concept of
cizilih: slowly gained precedence, wirhour rhe orher being losr Here, about the
year 1562, rhe rwo were used rngether withom any noriceable precedence of one
or rhe ()[her, In his dedicarion Peyrar says: "Ler rhis book, which ueats the
insrruction of a young courrier and gemleman, be prorecred by him \\'ho is as the
paragon and mirror of orhers in crJi1r!tSJ ciz'ility, good manners and praiseworrhy
The man w whom these words were addressed was that \'try Henri de
Bourbon, Prince of Navarre, whose life most visibly symbolizes rhis uansition
from the chivalrous w che courdy man and who, as Henri IV, was w be rht direct
execurnr of rhis change in France, being obliged, ofren againsr his will, to
compel or even condemn rn clearh rhose who resisted, rhose who did not
understand rhar from being free lords and knighrs che\ were w become
depend em servants of the king. i 2 '
Feudalization and
State Formation

Survey of Courtly Society

1. The S[ruggles benveen [he nobili[y, [ht Church and [he princes for [heir
shares in [he comrol and [he produce of the land ran through the entire 1fiddle
Ages. In [he course of the twelfrh and thirteemh cemuries a further group
emerged as a partner in this play of forces: rhe privileged town-dwellers. the
The actual course of this consram struggle, and the power relations among the
concr:srnms. varied widely between coumries. But rhe outcome of rhe conflicts
was, in irs suucture, nearly always rhe same: in all the larger cominemal
countries, and at rimes in England too, rhe princes or their represenrnrives finally
accumulated a concemration of power to which rhe estates were not equal. The
aurnrky of the majority, and the estates share of power, were curtailed step by
step, while the dicrntorial or "absolute" power of a single supreme figure was
slowly established, for a greater or lesser period. In France, England and rhe
Habsburg coumries this figure was rhe king, in [he German and Italian regions
it was the territorial ruler.
2. Numerous studies describe, for example, how the French kings from Philip
Augustus to Francis I and Henry IV increased their power, or how [he Elector
Frederick \\/illiam pushed aside [he regional estates in Brandenburg, and the
Sta!t Forl/latio11 m1cl Cil'ilizr1tio11 189
188 Tbt Cil'ili::;ing Proc,.rs

Medici rhe patricians and senate in Florence, or how rhe Tudors did rhe same to s still shared their function with the universities turning out the
,,urhon tl e . . . . .
rhe nobilin- and parliamenr in Em;land. Evernvhere ir is the individual a"en . elv bureaucracy, whereas in Roman1c and perhaps 1l1 all Catholic countnes-
,.,,, ts . cl- r l1e 1mporrance
and rheir various actions that we set, rheir personal weaknesses and gifts that are
. . point remains ro be esrablishe . of rl1e courts as a
rhis 1arrer _ . _
._1 . rhorirv. a source of models of behanour. far exceeded that ot the
described. And ir is no doubt fruirful and even indispensable ro see history in ai au . . _ . _ . .
this way, as a mosaic of individual actions of individual people _._. __ 'll1d all the other social tormanons of the epoch. fhe early Renais-
univer.::i1L1c,:, , . . ,. ., , . . .
Nevertheless, something else is obviously ar work here besides rhe fortuitous Florence. characterized by men like i\fasacc10, Ghibem. Brunelleschi
sance 1l1 . .
emergence of a series of great princes and rhe fortuitous vicrories of numerous and Donatello, is not yet an unequivocally courtly sryle; bur rhe Italian_ High
individual territorial rulers or kings over numerous individual estates at ' nee ind more clearlv still rhe Baroque and Rococo, the srvle of Louis
Renaissa , ' - . ,, . .. .
approximately rhe same rime Ir is nor without reason that we speak of an age of XV and XVI, are courtly, as finally is the . EmpHe , though a more
absolutism.. \'\!bar found expression in this change in the form of political rule n, l \\''l\. bein" alread\ permeated wirh !l1dusrnal-bourgeois features.
rninsio 0 ,1 , _, "' . _ . ..
was a structural change in \'Vesrern society as a whole. Not only did individual Ar rhe courts a form of society was evolving tor which no very specihc and
kings increase rheir power but, clearly, rhe social institution of rhe monarchy or unequivocal term exists in German, for rhe obvious reason that in Germany this
princedom took on new weight in rhe course of a gradual transformation of the rype of 1
- l uman bonding never attained central and decisive importance, except at
. . . . , . ,
whole of society, a new weight which ar rhe same rime gave new power chances . in rhe final uansmonal form it had at \'Veimar fhe German concept
most On!\: ' .
to rhe central rulers of ''good society", or more simply, of "society" in the_ sense of_ll!onde, like the
On the one hand we might enquire how chis or chat man gained power and social formation corresponding to it, lacks rhe sharp dehnmon ot rhe French and
how he or his heirs increased or lost this power in rhe conrexr of "absolutism". En<lish rerms The French speak of la sociiti polie. And rhe French terms ho11ne
On rhe other, we may ask on rhe basis of whar social changes rhe medieval or gens de la Co11r and the English "Society" have similar connotations
institution of the king or prince rook on, in certain centuries, rhe character and 4. The most influential courtly society was formed, as we know, in France.
power referred ro by concepts such as "absolutism .. or "desporism", and which From Paris rhe same codes of conduce, manners, taste and language spread, for
social structure, which development in human relations, made ir possible for rhe varying periods, to all the other European courts. This happened nor only
institution ro sustain itself in chis form for a greater or lesser period of rime. because France was rhe most powerful country ar rhe time. Ir was only now made
Boch approaches work with more or less the same material Bur onlv rhe possible because, in a pervasive transformation of European society, similar social
second attains to the plane of historical reality on which rhe civilizing formations, characterized by analogous forms of human relations came into being
rakes place. evervwhere. The absolurisr-courrly aristocracy of other lands adopted from rhe
Ir is by more than a coincidence char in the same centuries in which rhe king most powerful and mosr centralized country of the time the things which
or prince acquired absolutist status, the restraint and moderation of the fined their own social needs: relined manners and a language which dis-
discussed in Parr Two. rhe "civilizing" of behaviour, was noticeably increased. In tinuuished rhem from those of inferior rank. In France they saw, most fruitfully
developed, something born of a similar social situation and which marchecI their .
the quotations assembled earlier ro demonstrate this change in beh<iviour, it
emerged quire clearly how closely this change was linked to the formation of rhe own ideals: people who could parade their srarus, while also observing the
hierarchical social .order with the absolute ruler and, more broadly, his court at subtleties of social intercourse, marking their exact relation to everyone above
its head. and below them by their manner of greeting and their choice of words-people
3 For the court, roo, rhe residence of the ruler, rook on a new aspect and a new of "disrincrion" and "civilitv". In raking over French etiquette and Parisian
significance in \'Vestern society, in a movement rhar flowed slowly across Europe, ceremony, rhe nirious rulers. obtained the desired instruments to express their
ro ebb away again, earlier here and later there, at about the rime we call rhe dignirv, ro make visible rhe hierarchy of society, and to make all others, first and
'Renaissance" fo;em<;st rhe courdv nobilitv themselves, aware of their dependence.
In the movements of chis period the courts gradually became the acmal model 5. Here, mo, it .is nor to see and describe the particular events in
and style-setting centres . In the preceding phase they had had ro share or even different countries in isolation. A new picture emerges, and a new understanding
wholly relinquish this function ro other centres, according to the prevailing is made possible, if rhe many individual courts of the \'Vest, with their relatively
balance of power, now ro the Church, now ro the towns, now to the courts of the uniform manners, are seen together as communicating organs in European
great vassals and knights scattered across the country. From this time on, in societv at large \'Vhar slowlv began ro form at the end of the Middle Ages was
German and particularly in Protestant regions, the courts of the central not one society .here and another there It was a courtly aristocracy

embracing \Vesn:rn Europe with its cemre in Paris, its dependencies in all the is ;incl prohibitions were fashioned or at least prepared that are
cornmaoc . . .. . . .
other courts, and offshoots in all the other circles which claimed w belong to 'bit even rodav, nat10nal d1tterencc:s notw1thsrnndmg, as somethmg
percepn . ..1 . .
great world of "Socieff .. , norabh- the UJ)]X:r stratum of the bourgeoisie and to 1 tO the \Vest. Pardy from rhem the \\ estern peoples. despite all their
<..- - '-

some extent even broader of the middle class have taken the common stamp of a specific ci,ilizarion
The members of this multifarious socierr. S]Joke the same language throu<'llot .. tle "r1clual formation of this absolmist-counh- socien was accom1xrnied
'-- '-- b lt 111at 1 "' '

the whole of Europe, first Italian, then French: they read the same books, they . st.ormation of rhe drive-econonw and conduct of rhe upper class in the
bra tr111 , . .
had rhe same taste, the same manners and-with differences of deree-thF ... sam.e
: of "ci,ilizarion .. has been shown bv a senes ot examples. Ir has also
'=' d1rcctJO 11 ' . _
style of living. Notwithstanding their many political differences and even the heen 1 ndic '1
ted how closelv this increased restraint and regulation ot elemental'\'
many wars they waged against c:ach other, rhey orienrared themselves fairly "urge:>. 1.::i bound Uj) wid1 increased social conscrnint, the \.;rowing dependence: or
<...- ....._,

unanimously, over greater or lesser periods. towards the centre at Paris. And tie nobilirv on rhe cemral lord, rht king or prince.
social communication between court and court, that is within courtly-arisrocratic How did this increased constraint and dependence come abour' How was an
society, remained for a long rime closer than between courtly society and other upper class of relatively independent or knights supplanted by a more or
strata in the same coumry: one expression of this was their common langu<1ge. Jess pacified upper class ot courtiers: \Vhy was che mfluence ot tht estates
Then, from about the middle of the eighteenth cemury, earlier in one coumrv progressively reduced in rhe comse of the Middle ,rnd earl): modern
and somewhar later in another, bur alw<1ys in conjunction with the rise of neriod, and why, sooner or later, was the d1ctaronal absolure rule ot a smgle
middle classes and the gradual displacement of the social and political centre of figure, and with it the compulsion of courtly etiquette, che pacification of larger
gravity from the court to the various national bourgeois societies, the ties ; smaller territories from a single centre, esrnblishecl for a greater or lesser
between the courtly-arisrocratic societies of different nations wtre slowly loos- eriod of time in all rhe countries of Europe' The sociogenesis of absolutism
ened even if they art ntvtr entirely broken. The French language gave way, nor fndeed occupies a key position in rhe overall process of civilization. The
without violent struggles, to the bourgeois, national languages even in the upper civilizing of conduct and the corrtsponding rranstCJrmation of the structure of
class. And courtly socitty itself became incrtasingly differentiated in rht same mental and emotional life cannor be understood without tracing the process of
way as bourgeois societies, particular! y when the old aristocratic society lost its state-formation, and within it rht aclrnncing centralization of society which first
centre once and for all in the French Revolution The national form of found particularlv visible expression in rhe absolutist form of rule
integration displaced that based on social estate.
6. In seeking rhe social traditions which provide rht common basis and deeper
unity of rhe various national traditions in rhe \Vesc, we should think not only of
the Christian Church. rhe common Roman-Latin heritage, bur also of this last
A Prospective Glance at the Sociogenesis
great pre-national social formation which, already partly in rhe shadow of the
national divergences within \Vestern society, rose <1bove the lowtr and middle of Absolutism
strata in different linguistic areas Here were created the models of more pacified
social inttrcourse \\hi ch more or less all classes needed, following rhe transforma- 1 A few of the most imporrnnr mechanisms which, towards rhe encl of rhe
tion of European society ar tht end of rhe Middle Ages: here rhe coarser habits, Middle Ages, gradually gave increasing power chances rn the central authority of
the wilder, more uninhibited cusroms of mediernl society with its warrior upper a rerritory, can be quite briefly described ar this preliminary srage. They are
class, the corollaries of an uncertain, constantly threatened life, were "softened'', broadly similar in all the larger countries of the \Vest and are particularly clearly
"polished" and "civilized". The pressure of court life, the vying for rhe farnur of seen in the development of the French monarchy.
the prince or the "great": then, more generally, rhe necessity to distinguish The gradual increase of rhe money sector of rhe economy at rhe expense of rhe
oneself from others and ro fight for opporruniries with relatively peaceful means, barter sector in a given region in the Middle Ages had very different consequences
through intrigue and diplomacy, enforced a constraint on the affecrs. a self- for the majority of rhe warrior nobility on rhe one hand. and for rhe king or
discipline and self-control, a peculiarly courtly rationality, which at first made prince on rhe other. The more money that came inrn circulation in <l region, rhe
rhe courtier appear to the opposing bourgeoisie of rhe eighteenth century, above greater rhe increase in prices. All classes whose revenue did not increase at the
all in Germany but also in England, as rhe epitome of the man of reason. same rate, all those on a fixed income, were rhus placed ar a disadrnnrage, above
And here, in this pre-national, courtly-aristocratic society, a part of those all the feudal lords \\ho received fixed rems from their estates
Stall For111atio11 t111d Cil'i/i::;,/fion
192 Tht C il'i!i:ing Prf/Ct.i.'

talents of individuals, and ofren chance. The growrh of rhe financial and
The social functions w l1ose rncome

increased with these new 0 ) Jor .
were placed at an advantage. They included certain seccions of the
bur above all che kinu l1e cencra
l ru ler. For the raxarion 1jJJ'ar1rL1s ourgeo
ti ..IonPn<Jn'
power chances dmt gradually arrached rhemselves to rhe monarchy was
of the will or talents of individuals: ir followed a srricr regularity
l' r "'' c < C < gave h

s 1Me o. the rncreasrng weal ch: a part of all che earnings in his area 1 l . encounrertd wherever social processes are observed.
ar ,
l . . .
0I And rhis increase 1n che power ch<rnces of the central funcrwn was therefore
' . I115
to hrm rnd rncomt
consequentlv. increased to .an ' exrraor
. . d.rnan- degr ru e
cl1t growrng circulacion of monev ' ee the for che pacification of a given cerritory, greater or smaller as rhe
As is always the case, this mechanism was onlv verv " id ll " be from a smgle centre
so to s e k l br' Ud y case ma .r ' .__ . _
p "a., rerrospecnve y exploited consciously by che parries ::;, The tWO series of developments which acted to the advantage of a strong
at a rdanvely lace scage by rulers as a principle of domescic poli;i aurhoriry were in all ways detrimental to the old medieval warrior estate.
rst result was <1 more or less automatic and constant increase in the ir1c cs: frs members bad no direcr connection with rhe growing money secror of the
ctnr I J cl Tl ome ot They could scarcely derive any direcr profir from rhe new opporrunicies
.. rn or . 1rs rs one of the preconditions on the basis of which the instit .
ot gained its absolute or uncircumscribed charactn m1on thar offered rhemselves They felr only rhe devaluation, the rise in
. - As the hnanc1al open to the cenrral function grew. so too d'd 1
its military potennal. Ihe man who had at his disposal the taxes of a It fo s been calculmed chat a fortune of 22,000 francs in rhe year 1200 was
coun trv w s . ' n entire. worrh 16,000 francs in 1)00, 7 .500 francs in 1400, and 6,500 in 1500 In rhe
. '1 rn a posmon ro hire more warriors than am other b . l
roken ht " . j,. cl cl ! t 1e same
. bre\\ ess epen em on the war services which the feudal v1sal sixteenth century this movement accelerared: the value of che sum fell ro 2,500
o b lr"ed
. b.
tO ren er rn exchange for the land wich which he was invesced.
' '' was francs, and the case was similar in rhe whole of Europe.
Ibis too rs a process which, like all the ochers. began verv earlv b t l A movement origim1ring far back in rhe tfiddle Ages underwent an extra-
. . ie formanon
. of more perm<rnenr . . '.
Even . u ony
\Villiam ' ordinary acceleration in rhe sixreenth century From the reign of Francis I up to
C onqueror . "'an cl \vrr
wenr to En<'! . ll an army cons1strng
. . onlv parrh of v1ss1l tnel rhe year 1610 alone, rhe French pound was devalued in approximarely the racio
rest bemu piid k l B . ' ' ' s, tie 5 ro l The imporrance of chis developmemal curve for rbe rransformation of
. . ' mg 1ts. etween char rime and rhe esrablishment of srandin
rhe central lords. centuries intervened. A prerequisite for such armie: sociery was greater rhan can be stared in a few words \Vhile money circularion
. rom rhe burowmu "' rt\..enue from raxes. was surplus manpower-rhe' grew and commercial activiry developed, while bourgeois classes and the revenue
b . . ' the num b er ot- peop1e and rhe number and profirabilitv of of rhe central authority rose, rhe income of rhe entire remaining nobility fell.
JO s. available . . rn a parr1cu Iar sociery which we know roday as Some of rhe knighrs were reduced ro a wretched exisrence, others rook by robbery
AGre,is sufterrng. from surpluses of this kind. e.g. Switzerland and I.Jares f and violence whac was no longer available by peaceful means, others again kepr
Fre ermanv . . . : SUj)jJ1ie cl to anyone who could afford them . Much later. o themselves above water for as long as possible by slowly selling off rheir esraces;
! dtnck rhe Greats recrurnng racrics showed rhe solurions open co a prince wd finally a good pare of rhe nobiliry, forced by these circumstances and
\\ ien rhe manpower anulable in his rerriron- was nor sufficienr for 11 1 amacred by the new opporrnniries, entered the service of the kings or princes
p Tl is mi 1rarv
urposes. le military supremacy char went hand in hand with who could pay, These were the economic opcions open to a warrior class chat was
, f. w,as. t I1ere fore, t l1e second decisive prerequisire enabling rhe central
' '
not connecred ro rhe growrh in money circulation and the trade network
PO\\ er o a region ro rake on .. absolure" characrer. 4. How rhe development of war rechnology operared ro rhe nobility's
A rransformarion of miliwry techniques followed and reinforced chis develop- disadvanrage has already been mentioned: rhe infantry, rhe despised foot-soldiers,
menr. Through rhe. slow development of firearms rhe mass of common foot- became more imporrant in banle rhan rhe cavalry. Not only the military
sold1ebrs became miliranly suj.Jerior ro the numericallv limired nobles fi<,htin" on superioriry of the medieval warrior esrare was thereby broken, bm also its
T ack. Th 15 t 00 was to l l 1e a cl vantage of rhe central
l1orse aurhorirv. o o
monopoly over weapons. A siruarion where the nobles alone were warriors or, in
11e krng, who rn rhe France of the early Caperian period, for ex.ample. was nor
other words, all warriors were nobles, began ro rum into one where the noble was
muc11 .more than 'a b-iro ' n. one rernrona 1 !orcl among ochers of equal power and
ar besr an officer of plebeian troops who had ro be paid. The monopoly control
somenm.es. even '.ess powerful rhan ochers, gained from his increasin" rev:nL1e<
of weapons and milirary power passed from rhe whole noble estate into the hands
1 poss1b. 1Iicy o f miT][ary supremacy over all the forces in his counrrv c \Xfhich
' "
of a single member, rhe prince or king who, supported by the tax income of the
no blle lamdv managed m pMcJCu . . Iar cases ro wrn . the crown and elms gain
whole region, could afford rhe largesr army. The majority of rhe nobility were
to t 1ese power chances depended on a wide range of facrors including rhe

thereby changed from relatively free warriors or knights into paid

officers in the senice of the cenrral lord.
5 These are a ft\\. of the most imporcam lines of this srrucrural rrcon----
tion . There was another as well. The nobility lost social power with the
in the money sector of the economy. while bourgeois classes gained ir_
general neither of rhe rwo esrares prO\ed strong enough to gain rhe upper
over rhe other for a prolonged period. Constant tensions everywhere erupted in
periodic struggles. The battle froms were complicared and varied widely from
case to case. There were occasional alliances between specific noble strata and
specific bourgeois srrnra; there were transitional forms and even fusions between
sub-groups from the rwo esrares . But however char may be. both rhe rise and the
of Feudalization
,1bsolure power of rhe cenrral insrirurion ahwys depended on rhe continued
exisrence of this tension btrwten rhe nobility and rbe bourgeoisie. One of the
srrucrural precondirions for rhe ,1bsolure monarchy or princedom was that
neid1er of rhe esrares nor any group wirhin chem should gain rhe upper band.
The representarin:s of the absolute central aurboriry therefore had ro be
constantly on rhe alerr to ensure rhar this unsrable equilibrium was maintained
wirhin their territory \\/here the balance was lose. where one group or stratum
beGrn1e roo strong. or where aristocratic and upper bourgeois groups even
temporarily allied. the supremacy of the central power was seriously threatened
or-as in England-doomed Thus we ofren observe among rulers that while one
prorects and promotes rhe bourgeoisie because the nobiliry seems roo powerfol
and therefore dangerous. rhe next inclines rowarcls the nobility. this having Introduction
grown roo weak or rht bourgeoisie wo refractory. withour the other side being
ever quite neglected, The absolure rulers were obliged, whether rhey were
If we compare France, England and rhe German. Empire at rhe middle of
- . n rerms of rhe j)OWtr of theH cenrral aurhont1es, the
entirely conscious of it or not, ro manipulare chis social mechanism rhar rhey had rhe seventeent l1 cenrury i .
l l b l l En"lish king and even more
nor created . Their social existence depended on its sunival <me! functioning. king of Fmnce appe<HS parncu ar y srrong es1c e r 1e "'_ . L" _, __ "

They roo were bound ro rhe social regularity with which rhey had to live. This so beside the German emperor. This consrellarwn \V<lS the: ourcomc or ,1 \try lone
regularity and the social strucrure corresponding ro it emerged soontr or later development, . . - - . l I
with numerous modifications in almost ewry- country of the \\'lest Bm it rakes Ar the end of the Carolingian and rhe begmnmg or the Capenan penoc r 1e
on clear delineation only if observed in rhe process of emergence rhrough a siruation was almost the reverse Ar rhar rime the central power of the German
k"n"S And England had yet to
concrete example . The development in France. rhe country in which this process, emperors was srrong as comparecl ro rl1e F renc l1 i o _ L

from a panicular moment on. rook place in rhe mosr direct form. will serve here undergo its decisive unification and reorganization by the Normans
In the German empire the power of the cen_rral aurhority crumbled
as an example.