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REVIEWS/COMPTES RENDUS 555 Naomi Tadmor. Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household, Kinship, and Patronage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 322pp. UK45;US$70. ISBN 0-52177-147-1. In this study of household, family, and kinship, Naomi Tadmor begins by reviewing debates in the historiography of the family—debates centred on whether the family in England changed in a marked and dramatic way from a traditional and formal structure to an affective, nuclear structure (Lawrence Stone, Randolph Trumbach, and others) or was characterized by a remarkable degree ofcontinuity (Peter Laslett, Keith Wrightson, and others). She comments on the consensus in the field gained by the "continuity" historians, and then suggests that both sides have been insufficiendy attentive to the terms and categories most in evidence in contemporary usage. This early discussion alone would make this book worth knowing about, but of course her project is far more ambitious. She provides a way of getting beyond the continuity/change models by outlining and practising a methodology characterized by "systematic analysis of historical linguistic usage." Her study will change the way that readers historicize familial relations in eighteenth-century texts. Tadmor's principal evidence comes from five mid-century texts that she sees as part ofthe same linguistic field: a diary by Thomas Turner, two novels (Samuel Richardson's Pamela and Eliza Haywood's Betsy Thoughtless), and two conduct books (Richardson's TheApprentice's Vade Mecum and Haywood's A Presentfor a Serving Maid) . Through a close analysis of usage patterns, she reveals the complexity and variability of conceptions of family and demonstrates the immense importance of several different "familial" groups—coresident living groups, circles of kin, natal families, lineage families, and networks ofboth kin and non-kin groups. She thus shows that an opposition such as "nuclear vs. extended" creates a serious hindrance to the historian trying to get at the conceptual and practical issues offamily history in seventeenth - and eighteenth-century England. She further shows the problematic nature ofsuch oppositions as "affective and instrumental" and "sentimental and contractual"; in the family formations that she examines, these characteristics frequently coincide. Tadmor's central categories are the "household" family, the "lineage" family, "kinship," and "friends." Her first two chapters deal with the "household " or co-resident family, structured by a "head of family" (statistically, more households were headed by men, but a signigicant number were headed by women) and by dependents, among whom could be a housekeeper, children, servants, apprentices, and others. Although the household family could and often did include members related to each other by kinship and marriage, it was not defined by these relations and was in fact 556 EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION 17:3 a recognizable family structure without them. With the exception of biological children, the relations within the household were understood contractually, but these contractual relations were not opposed to affective or sentimental bonds. The household family was defined by its functions—by domestic organization and by the relation ofauthority between the head of household and dependents. One ofits most important structural features was its capacity to absorb change over time and over the course ofa life, without being fundamentally altered as a structure. It was, as Tadmor explains, both "flexible and permeable." It was a cultural construction that provided continuity but accommodated change. Thomas Turner called this family "the family at home." We might call it the "family on the ground." Tadmor shows that this family ofdaily experience coexisted with and was often closely linked to networks ofpatronage and kinship. Tadmor next moves to the lineage family—the conception of family farthest from the household family and the concept of family that Thomas Turner actively uses least, though as Tadmor demonstrates, the language of lineage provides a framework for him to understand "his nation and its history." Tadmor also reads the conduct books and novels for their use ofthe concept of the lineage family (in Pamela, for example, such a family is centralized and placed in opposition to virtue). This section, although interesting and engaging, is less innovative than the other parts ofthe book. The lineage society is a widely used analytic term, and lineage family conflicts are familiar to readers of fiction...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-0243
Print ISSN
0840-6286
Pages
pp. 555-557
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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