Abby's Blog Entry #1-- Misconceptions on Bourgeois

The first week of research was quite interesting. When first looking up Bourgeois Drama, I was surprised to find that the term "Bourgeois" actually refers to the middle class. I was previously under the impression that bourgeois referred to the aristocrats, as informed by the phrase "bourgeois pig". I thought this was a dig at the highfalutin, to be uttered by the oppressed common man when he finally takes a stand for himself, as in the French Revolution. Finding out that the Bourgeois were actually the heroes of the French Revolution made me question the phrase "Bourgeois Pig" and its poorly-understood meaning in the contemporary lexicon-- for I know that I'm not the only one who has misunderstood this phrase. Bourgeois Pig, in reality, is meant to insult a middle-class person who aspires to be or acts of a higher class than their own. Realizing that the modern use of the phrase Bourgeois is as an insult made me realize how different the social opinion of the rich man is now compared to what it was then. Now, we value the common, middle-class working man as a cornerstone of our society. Before the 1700s, in France especially but in other European countries as well, lots of emphasis was placed on the higher classes--they were essentially the only people considered to be of value. This time period, 1700-1770, seems to be the segue between these two attitudes. During the time of Bourgeois Drama, in the years leading up to the French Revolution, there was a dramatic shift in people's attitude towards the middle class. It seems that Bourgeois Drama played a pivotal role in causing this change to occur. It will be exciting to learn more about just what that influence was.

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This entry is great at pointing out the historiographic complication of different meanings of words in different time periods - bourgeois in this case. Don't think of it as there being a right or wrong way to use bourgeois. The reason it's understood as being different today is that the bourgeois class is now regarded by the lower class as being oppressive, rather than by the upper class as being boorish. Acknowledging this shift is a great way of keying into a major difference between 18th century France and contemporary US. Continue to thik about this major question as your presentation comes together.

I seem to only have one journal entry for you. Be sure to write out your other journal entries by the required check in date to avoid a greater penalty.


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