New LSU Press Book Explores Consumption Patterns of 17th-Century French Provincial Elites
BATON ROUGE – As the epicenters of style and innovation, the cities of Paris and Versailles dominate studies of consumerism in 17th-century France, but little scholarship exists on the material culture, fashion, and consumption patterns in the provinces. Donna J. Bohanan’s “Fashion beyond Versailles,” now available from LSU Press, fills this historiographical gap by examining the household inventories of French nobles and elites in the southern province of Dauphiné.
Much more than a simple study of the decorative arts, “Fashion beyond Versailles” investigates the meaning of material ownership. By examining postmortem registries and archival publications, Bohanan reveals the social imperatives, local politics, and high fashion trends that spurred the consumption patterns of provincial communities.
In doing so, she reveals a closer relationship between consumer behavior of Versailles and the provinces than most historians have maintained. Far-reaching in its sociological and psychological implications, “Fashion beyond Versailles” both makes use of and contributes to the burgeoning literature on material culture, fashion, and consumption.
Bohanan is the Joseph A. Kicklighter Professor of History at Auburn University. She is the author of “Old and New Nobility in Aix-en-Provence, 1600–1695” and “Crown and Nobility in Early Modern France.”