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Leisure hosting: la salonnière

(Added 19 November 2006)

« la Chambre bleue d’Arthénice » Salon de Madame de Rambouillet

By the seventeenth century, the salon had become an entrenched part of French society and intellectual life and had also come to have a serious influence on politics and the arts. Famed hostesses such as Madame de Rambouillet would open their gilded homes on certain days of the week to members of polite society, as well as to more marginal writers and thinkers. What salon guests had in common was a love for discussion and often witty repartee. Salon-goers soon came to be considered a “literary class,” a group of people linked not by wealth or ancestry but by ideas. It was in this century that the archetype of the female salonnière was created — a strong woman who wished to engage in what was then an essentially male intellectual life and did so to great effect by bringing it into her home.
-Mireille Silcoff, Editor-in-Chief, Guilt & Pleasure Magazine, www.guiltandpleasure.com

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