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 *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene* 
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
it would certainly help if Artois posted some sources, especially given how specific some of the claims are. But it's important too to realize some of this is simply a matter of how different people interpret the same facts.

Take the idea that people used as little water as possible. This is quite possible, given that Paris (unlike, believe it or not, London) did not have running water (as the French journalist Linguet pointed out). But does that fact indicate less concern with personal hygiene? Lacking (as they did indeed) shampoo, some people ate least seemed to be using dry powders (as I mentioned above) to do the same job.

As for things like body odor, my mother, who had spent long spells in Europe, used to complain about the fact that different nationalities were less than rigorous about bathing or deodorant. Other countries, though, felt for a long time that Americans were a bit nutty on the subject. And the man who had first held the MacDonald's franchise in France, and lost it in part because he didn't maintain Ray Kroc-like levels of cleanliness, actually went before a Chicago court and said (as the French papers gleefully reported) that the French were a dirty people and didn't need the same degree of cleanliness.

So the boundaries of much of this are subjective even today.

Certainly, if there was over-whelming odor at the time, at least among the "better sort", it would have been an indistinct mix of sickly sweet scents, such as orange, jasmine, rosewater, etc. These were put in the powder for wigs and all kinds of other products. And judges would have rose or orange water scattered around the courts to fend off odors (presumably of those whose economic constraints meant they really WERE the "great unwashed".) So we have to assume people at the time had some olfactory awareness.

This issue by the way is the whole basis for Patrick Susskind's novel "Perfume". Anyone who hasn't read it should, both for the portrait of the time and the sheer perverse exuberance of the tale.

The rather revolting image of Versailles is, as far as I know, historically accurate - Franklin elsewhere describes the building as dripping with the dumpings of chamber pots. And the French attitude towards defecation in general shocked the English of the time.

So I'm inclined to trust Artois' details, as far as they go. I just don't know if everyone, knowing the full picture, would draw the same conclusions.

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Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:40 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Here is the same text and some comments of other members -
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=506&start=15

jimcheval wrote:
As for things like body odor, my mother, who had spent long spells in Europe, used to complain about the fact that different nationalities were less than rigorous about bathing or deodorant. Other countries, though, felt for a long time that Americans were a bit nutty on the subject. And the man who had first held the MacDonald's franchise in France, and lost it in part because he didn't maintain Ray Kroc-like levels of cleanliness, actually went before a Chicago court and said (as the French papers gleefully reported) that the French were a dirty people and didn't need the same degree of cleanliness.

So the boundaries of much of this are subjective even today.


That is true. Personally, I hate every possible generalization. One person I know briefly, who studied French, spent a year or two in Paris and told me how French people were dirty, especially their houses where they kept many pets and so on. I was very skeptical about it.

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Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:45 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
What a warm sincere welcome to your group. I’m talked about, not ‘to’; my “text” was the topic of a meeting about and to which I was neither advised or invited, and at which I would have answered any and all questions; I read that one member mentioned about my post that “generalities” are hated. My user name was ‘Artois’; is there a reason that I was talked about and left to read comments about my work in other users’ posts? Do you know how rude and insensitive that is? Obviously not.

Would someone tell JimCheval that my ‘Hygiene in 18th Century France’ text was written 5 years ago for another website;my sources have been long discarded. It seemed a pertinent and timely answer to the question raised so I submitted it; I was unaware that sources were a requirement or I would not have posted it. My apologies for this oversight.

http://www.funtrivia.com/ubbthreads/sho ... ain=448932

I’ve worked long and hard at researching and writing items that I thought your group would enjoy and appreciate. That was a mistake I’ll only make once. In paging through the site I notice a substantial lack of source information. Would someone tell JimCheval that he will be busy explaining source requirements to other members. He seems to have very high standards that should be uniformly applied to all but are not. Not yet, anyway. I’ll drop by on occasion to see how he is progressing.

I realize that my work does not contain the edification and stimulation of countless entries of what to call Primprenelle, Pimp, Prim, etc. ad nauseum. What I do resent is the questioning of my honesty and character; that is inexcusable and unforgivable; the way you reveal it is so very rude.

I wish you all positive experiences as you continue with your site and hopefully this experience will enable you to treat new members with the courtesy and respect we all deserve.


Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:07 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
A strange reaction, Artois, if I may say. I mildly pointed out - as seems to me simple fact - that it would be nice to have sources for your statements. But I also made a point of saying that certain points were valid, or simply reflected a different interpretation of the same facts.

Hardly a blanket dismissal, no?

No, I'm sure many people here don't source their statements. You're right, it's not always a big issue. But when I disagree strongly with a post, it seems to me more civil to refer to documentation than to just insistently say, "I'm right, damn it", and in fact in challenging others on certain points, it has seemed to me more polite simply to ask their source (I could be wrong) than to simply contradict them. Our era in particular is subject to all kinds of rumors and trying to pin down where ideas come seems to me perfectly reasonable.

It certainly implies nothing about your character or honesty to do so.

Otherwise yet another person will repeat that Marie-Antoinette said "Let them eat cake" and brought the croissant to Paris, and all I'll get to do is type, through clenched fingers, "No. She didn't."

As for how "we" welcome newcomers, honestly I haven't been here long enough or read enough of the posts to know who and who isn't a newcomer. To however much of a community may or may not exist amongst us.

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Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:39 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Having browsed this thread a bit more now, I saw people's surprise that Louis XIV would receive people on his "throne". But life of royalty was public to a dismaying degree and I don't know that it would have shocked his contemporaries as much. At least not the French - bear in mind this is an area where nations differed greatly, and probably do today - I remember an older Russian colleague telling me that when she had last been in Russia, it was considered unthinkable to merely say you were going to the bathroom. And consider how recently it was thought indecent (in America) for a woman to refer directly to her pregnancy.

Still, there were certainly those who found this sort of thing shocking. Saint-Simon should be read with caution on the Duke de Vendome, whom he despised, but for what it's worth, here's what he says in this regard:

Quote:
He got up rather late while in the army, sat on his close-stool, did his letters there, gave his morning orders, and [for] those who had to deal with him, which is to say general officers and distinguished people, it was the most favorable time to talk to him.

http://books.google.com/books?id=07EUAA ... =#PPA86,M1

Quote:
The duke of Parma, who had to deal with M. de Vendome, sent him the bishop of Parma, who was quite surprised to be received by M. de Vendome on the close-stool, and more yet to see him get up in the middle of the conference, and wipe himself in front of him. He was so indignant that nonetheless, without saying a word, he returned to Parma and ...declared to his master that he would never go back in all his life.

http://books.google.com/books?id=07EUAA ... =#PPA88,M1

I read many years ago that Robert F. Kennedy, who had the most problematic relationship with Lyndon Johnson, went in to see the President one day and was surprised to hear him call to him from the bathroom - which was open, with LBJ seated. Careless crudity or studied display of power? If the tale is true, it could be taken as either, as could Vendome's behavior.

With Louis, of course, display of power was implicit in everything. It would not surprise me in the least to learn there was a post of Wiper of the Royal Bottom, and that such a post was eagerly sought and expensive to buy.

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Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:14 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Wow! I'm sorry if I was rude, surely it wasn't intentional, I didn't mean to offend you. I sincerely apologize. Reading my posts I still don't know what could cause such a strong reaction.

Artois wrote:
I read that one member mentioned about my post that “generalities” are hated.


Now if this is about my sentence -
Marija Vera wrote:
Personally, I hate every possible generalization.

- I am even more confused. In that post I was replying to the post by jimcheval so I quoted him above my reply. And I wrote that I hate generalization, referring more to my skepticism after hearing the comment that the person I know made after living in France, than the text you posted. I have posted it too, earlier, thinking that it was interesting and you can see that reactions of other members were pretty similar which I didn't find insulting, why would I? Since you are a new member, which I've noticed, I thought it was better quite opposite, to comment your posts, so you would feel accepted and welcomed but I guess I made that mistake talking about you not to you. Still, whenever is talked about the post you made and information from it, you don't need a special invitation to join. That is the point of this forum after all, to learn more about our interests by discussing, sharing various information, trying to determine the facts... Of course that some members are more educated than others and all of us have a different approach. Now, I was quoting you but since talking straight to you, I suppose it's fine.

I admit that your reaction disturbed me a little, I wasn't aware of that insensitivity, and I apologize once again. I hope you won't leave us but still look around and see that our discussions are pretty similar... (see the topic about M.A. and Axel Fersen, sometimes conflicts are possible but no one left the forum because of them, I hope!)

I find amazing that in the medieval times the level of hygiene was pretty high, normally people think opposite, but from the book “Life in the medieval city” (I don't know the author, I am not home to check) and the documentary I've recently watched, it was surprisingly high, because the use of therms left from the Roman period. I value writings from the 18th century the most while discussing this subject. Unfortunately, I can't find many translations here, in my country, so I very appreciate every possible paragraph.

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Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:06 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Even if people were bathing at some sort of regular interval, I wonder how much of the stench actually came from unwashed clothing?


Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:41 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Certainly, this wouldn't have been a problem for the monied classes. Laundresses are mentioned in all kinds of contexts. Soap - that is, lye (lessive) - was used, as was pounding clothes on a rock while sitting by a stream.

Articles of clothing were far less disposable at the time and are even mentioned in wills. One famous case very incidentally mentions a laundress who was sentenced just before the subject of the case, for stealing a shirt.

I doubt that workers and peasants had this luxury, but laundry in general was very much a part of French life in our time.

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Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:43 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Let me explain something. I usually don't believe in sharing personal matters but, in this case, you deserve some details because of what has transpired. I got some very unwelcome news yesterday and, as you can see, I didn't handle it well. But the doctor gave me some Valium and I feel much better. I'm going to have to have a fourth brain surgery at some point in the future. Three previous ones were unsuccessful (two pallidotomies and one deep brain stimulation) and now a fourth. The reason I was so argumentative and out of control is that the surgery takes +/- 10 hours and you have to be awake throughout the procedure. The seizures, convulsions, muscle rigidity, facial tics that occur are horrible and I'm scared to death.

So...this doesn't eradicate my behavior;I hope it explains it. My apologies to all. And I'll keep my problems to myself from now on,

Artois


Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:34 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Artois - you are a brave person to have shared your personal information with us! And you have every right to be scared to death, any of us would be, I'm sure. We will always have differences of opinion and that is OK. Variety is the spice of life - what a bunch of big bores we'd be if we all agreed all the time! Good Luck to you! & Peace.


Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:03 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Artois -

I doubt I'm alone in saying I was far more concerned that we might have made you feel unwelcome or been dismissive of your contribution than in the least thinking of my own (in the main robust) sensitivities.

So no apologies necessary (gracious as yours were). I hope that to the degree a community does exist here you find it a warm and welcoming one.

Jim Chevallier

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Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:59 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Artois, I am so sorry to hear this, I agree with Lilly about your bravery. I would prefer every other possible explanation for our “conflict”, you being sensitive due to your character or we acting really insensitive and rude, but this cause. Of course that all of us would have the same reaction to such a shocking news. I agree with jimcheval too, no apologies necessary.

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Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:44 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
It's been some time since I posted anything in these forums, so this post may seem a little off-topic for this conversation, but I can't find the original discussion that included chamberpots and close-stools. I just ran across this article on Louis XVI's garderobe, which has been restored recently. I always thought a garderobe was what we call a wardrobe, but it turns out it also refers to a privy. This restoration is of Louis' wardrobe room, but it also contains a close-stool or toilet of some kind. Thought all of you would be interested.

http://www.thearttribune.com/Louis-XVI- ... obe-a.html

DreamersRose


Sun May 24, 2009 3:24 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Artois wrote:
What a warm sincere welcome to your group. I’m talked about, not ‘to’; my “text” was the topic of a meeting about and to which I was neither advised or invited, and at which I would have answered any and all questions; I read that one member mentioned about my post that “generalities” are hated. My user name was ‘Artois’; is there a reason that I was talked about and left to read comments about my work in other users’ posts? Do you know how rude and insensitive that is? Obviously not.

Would someone tell JimCheval that my ‘Hygiene in 18th Century France’ text was written 5 years ago for another website;my sources have been long discarded. It seemed a pertinent and timely answer to the question raised so I submitted it; I was unaware that sources were a requirement or I would not have posted it. My apologies for this oversight.

http://www.funtrivia.com/ubbthreads/sho ... ain=448932

I’ve worked long and hard at researching and writing items that I thought your group would enjoy and appreciate. That was a mistake I’ll only make once. In paging through the site I notice a substantial lack of source information. Would someone tell JimCheval that he will be busy explaining source requirements to other members. He seems to have very high standards that should be uniformly applied to all but are not. Not yet, anyway. I’ll drop by on occasion to see how he is progressing.

I realize that my work does not contain the edification and stimulation of countless entries of what to call Primprenelle, Pimp, Prim, etc. ad nauseum. What I do resent is the questioning of my honesty and character; that is inexcusable and unforgivable; the way you reveal it is so very rude.

I wish you all positive experiences as you continue with your site and hopefully this experience will enable you to treat new members with the courtesy and respect we all deserve.



I'm sorry if you mis-understood Marija in her statement. She is a European, and generalizations are made about everyone in Europe, it is a touchy subject, and may offend some people. Just like using the "n" word to describe African-Americans is touchy here in America. Please excuse all of the chit-chat and banter, as everything must be taken with a grain of salt. (I believe that is the expression, I'm not sure.) There are those here who would take a bullet for Marie Antoinette or Louis XVI, and their opinions may never be swayed on some matter, and in that respect, we must also respect your opinions. The people here are bright and welcoming, and I am deeply sorry if that did not come through to you wholeheartedly.

I welcome you here, and I look forward to taking the time to review your information, in my absence I have missed quite a lot, please allow me to sort your problems out via Private Message, or write a PM directly to Adrienne.

As for citing sources, we are NOT all college educated, some may not be familiar with citing, which again, information must be taken with a grain of salt until proven.

Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience caused upon you.

Welcome, and I do hope you continue to enlighten our minds.

Yours,
Comte de Provence.


Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:40 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
I just sat and read this entire thread in it's entirety with fascination.

I remember my Great- Uncle owning an antique chamber pot that he claimed to have been owned by MA. I wondered, even as a small child, how it made it's way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama ??? Especially seeing how he never left the US. :wink:


Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:10 am
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