Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England

Household, Kinship and Patronage

Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England

This book concerns the history of the family in eighteenth-century England. Tadmor provides a new interpretation of concepts of household, family and kinship through her analysis of contemporary language (in diaries, conduct treatises, novels by Richardson and Haywood, and other sources). She emphasizes the importance of the household in constructing notions of the family, and shows how ties of "friendship" formed vital social, economic and political networks. Her book makes a substantial contribution to eighteenth-century history, and will be of value to all historians and literary scholars of the period.


"The book is an important one. Historians of the family, social historians, and literary critics will in future have to view the family and its network both in a wider and yet more precisely focused light. With Naomi Tadmor's guidance, they will approach their readings of novels, diaries, and letters in a fresh way." Journal of Modern History

"Naomi Tadmor's Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England makes a useful contribution to our understanding not only of family history, but of the eighteenth-century novel, neighborhood, and politics." H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online

"...original in conception and well researched and presented...invaluable for understanding the economic and social change that shaped early modern Britain." Journal of Social History

"Tadmor makes the first significant advance in the history of the English family in more than twenty years...This is a breathtaking performance, both methodologically and interpretatively...Tadmor's scope and interpretive rigor will provide an important framework for all future explorations." American Historical Review

"With Tadmor's fine book, family history has finally made its linguistic turn.... This book is firmly grounded in verifiable texts, informed by the sound idea that the terms that people use constitute an important dimension of their social reality. Tadmor provides a convincing demonstration of the ways in which the eighteenth-century English language of home, friends, kinship, and family differs profoundly from meanings now assigned to the same terms." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"A path-breaking and richly detailed book. This is a stimulating and significant book. Combining formidable scholarship with lucid argument, it uses literary sources in new ways to offer new conclusions relating to the historiography of the family." Economic History Review

"Her study will change the way that readers historicize familial relations in eighteenth-century texts...Her notes are a treasure house; her bibliography is exemplary. Her rigorous study will be important to anyone thinking about the family or family and fiction in the eghteenth century." Eighteenth-Century Fiction

'Tadmor's thorough analysis and contextualisation of literary and 'non-literary' sources are exemplary. Her original, penetrating, and thought-provoking study will be required reading for all historians of the family and of eighteenth century England, including those interested in Thomas Turner's Sussex.' Southern History Society