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DignityA History$
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Remy Debes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199385997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199385997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

On Bourgeois Dignity

On Bourgeois Dignity

Making the Self-Made Man

(p.269) Chapter 9 On Bourgeois Dignity

Christine Dunn Henderson

Oxford University Press

Somewhere near the beginning of the eighteenth century a new concept of “dignity” was emerging alongside the rise of a new socioeconomic class, the bourgeoisie. This chapter explores the development of this distinctive new concept of dignity, investigating first the key elements of the so-called bourgeois virtues that provided content to this new ethos of dignity. Next, it probes the economic, political, and social conditions that facilitated the emergence and diffusion of bourgeois dignity during the eighteenth century. Finally, it discusses how this new understanding of dignity was diffused throughout society by one of the most influential literary endeavors of the period, Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s The Spectator (1711–1714).

Keywords:   Addison, Steele, bourgeois dignity, eighteenth century, commercial, virtue, Spectator, independence, self-making, politeness

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