French Nobility And The Origins of Modern Culture
Farnam Street stashed this in Interesting
The conflicting demands of seventeenth-century aristocratic culture created an untenable state that fostered the more egalitarian ideologies of the eighteenth century and the weakening of the patriarchal ideology.
I found this observation fascinating:
In something J.K. Rowling could be proud of, many of the French nobility sought out social settings where distinctions of birth were disguised by anonymity.
The rejection was explicit in the case of the Académie Française, which admitted men without reference to rank. It was implicit in such events as the masked ball, the gambling party, and the decision (taken with growing frequency in the seventeenth century) to write or appear in published literary works, works that exposed author and subject to the judgment of any book-buyer. All of these choices presented momentary, experimental departures from aristocratic society itself. Like the exploration of the personal, they expressed nobles’ ambivalence about their social order. Nobles fully accepted the ordering that dynastic ideology proposed and that accorded them such a privileged place. But they also felt acutely the weight of that order.
Anonymity has become a powerful and useful part of the Internet all these years later.