Skip to main content


General / Introductory

  • Anne E. C. McCants, 'Exotic Goods, Popular Consumption, and the Standard of Living:Thinking about Globalization in the Early Modern World', Journal of World History, Volume 18, Number 4 (December 2007), pp. 433-462 - could be used as general reading and for the first couple of introductory / more general lectures.(PDF Document)
  • Consumption and the World of Goods, ed. by John Brewer and Roy Porter (London: Routledge, 1997) especially: Jean-Christophe Agnew, 'Coming up for air: consumer culture in a historical perspective'; Joyce Appleby, 'Consumption in early modern social thought'; T. H. Breen, 'The meaning of things: interpreting the consumer economy in the eighteenth century'; Peter Burke, 'Res et verba: conspicuous consumption in the early modern world'; Cissie Fairchilds, 'The production and marketing of popoluxe goods in eighteenth-century Paris';
  • Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002)

  • Maxine Berg and Helen Clifford (eds.), Consumers and Luxury: Consumer culture in Europe 1650-1850 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999)

  • Michael Kwass, 'Ordering the World of Goods: Consumer Revolution and the Classification of Objects in Eighteenth-Century France', Representations, 82 (2003), 87-116

  • Martyn J. Lee (ed.), The Consumer Society Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003)

  • Neil McKendrick, John Brewer and J.H. Plumb (eds.), The birth of a consumer society : the commercialization of eighteenth-century England (London: Europa, 1982) - I think the later Brewer collection is better, but it should still be on the list

  • Roy Porter and Marie Muvey Roberts (eds.), Pleasure in the Eighteenth Century (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996) - again like the McKendrick, not as good as Maxine's and the World of Goods collections, but should probably at least get a mention

  • Daniel Roche, A history of everyday things : the birth of consumption in France, 1600-1800, transl. by Brian Pearce (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000) - really quite an important study (and more comprehensive than the one on clothing he also did), but only one copy in the library

  • Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (New York: Huebsch, 1924) (such a classic, we have to put it in somewhere)

  • A.B. Trigg, 'Veblen, Bourdieu and Conspicuous Consumption', Journal of Economic Issues, 35 (2001)



For Particular lectures / seminars

Gender and Consumption

  • Tjitske Akkerman, Women’s Vices, Public Benefits: Women and Commerce in the French Enlightenment (Amsterdam: Spinhuis, 1992) - only as background reading really

  • Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994) - some chapters might be good, but I will find some of her more recent stuff, it'll probably be better, especially on the material culture side, such as the one she did for Berg & Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century

  • Jennifer M. Jones, Sexing La Mode: Gender, Fashion and Commercial Culture in Old Regime France (Oxford: Berg, 2004)

  • Elizabeth Kowaleski-Wallace, Consuming subjects : women, shopping, and business in the eighteenth century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996) - two copies in the library

  • Kate Davies, 'A Moral Purchase: femininity, commerce and abolition 1788-1792' in Eger, Grant et al. Women, Writing and the Public Sphere: 1700-1830

  • Langford, A Polite and Commercial People, ch. 10: 'The Birth of Sensibility'

  • Legates, 'The cult of womanhood in eighteenth-century thought', Eighteenth-Century Studies, 10 (1976)

  • Vickery, 'Women and the world of goods' in Consumption and the World of Goods

  • Wollstonecraft, A vindication of the Rights of Woman, chps 1-6 

  • Victoria de Grazia and Ellen Furlough (eds.), The Sex of Things, Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective (especially the chapter by Jennifer Jones)



Poor Consumers

  • Anne McCants, 'Poor consumers as global consumers: the diffusion of tea and coffee drinking in the eighteenth century', The Economic History Review, 61 (2008) 172–200. - available online
  • Jon Stobart, Ilja Van Damme (eds.), Modernity and the second-hand trade: European consumption cultures and practices, 1700-1900 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) - Warwick has online access to that
  • Styles, John, The dress of the people : everyday fashion in eighteenth-century England (New Haven : Yale University Press, c2007) - several copies in the library, for a shorter overview see also his article in Berg & Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century
  • Laurence Fontaine, 'The Circulation of Luxury Goods in Eighteenth-Century Paris: Social Redistribution and an Alternative Currency', in Berg & Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century
  • John Styles, 'Plebeian fashion' in Berg and Eger (eds.), Luxury in the C18th Century

Sociability and Consumption

  • Juergen Habermas, The structural transformation of the public sphere : an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society, transl. by Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence. (Cambridge : Polity, 1989) - lots of copies in the Warwick library
  • Markman Ellis, The Coffee House: a Cultural History (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004).
  • Steve Pincus, 'Coffee Politicians does Create. Coffee Houses and Restoration Political Culture', Journal of Modern History, 67 (Dec 1995)
  • Brian Cowan, 'The Rise of the Coffeehouse Reconsidered',m The Historical Journal, 47, (2004)

Luxury Debates (Secondary) [i'll put more stuff and the primary reading in later]

  • Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Luxury Debates’ in Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 7-27 (nice and short)

  • Christopher J., The idea of luxury: a conceptual and historical investigation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) - really useful and again fairly easy to read, but only two copies in the library

  • Albert O. Hirschman, The passions and the interests : political arguments for capitalism before its triumph, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977) - really good and easy read, unfortunately only one copy in the library

  • Istvan Hont, ‘The Early Enlightenment debate on commerce and luxury’ in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, ed. by Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 379-418 - I might just copy the relevant sections for the students. It is a really good analysis.

  • Mark Hulliung, 'Rousseau, Voltaire, and the Revenge of Pascal', in The Cambridge Companion to Rousseau, ed. by Patrick Riley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 57-77

  • Edward J. Hundert, 'Bernard Mandeville and the Enlightenment's Maxims of Modernity', Journal of the History of Ideas, 56 (1995), 577-593, perhaps even better, his ‘Mandeville, Rousseau and the Political Economy of Fantasy’, in Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods, ed. by Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 28-40

  • G.J.A. Pocock, 'Virtue, rights, and manners: A model for historians of political thought, in Virtue, Commerce, and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 37-50 - if nothing else he teaching you methodology!

  • Ellen Ross, 'Mandeville, Melon and Voltaire: The Origins of the Luxury Controversy in France', SVEC, 155 (1976), 1897-1912 - easily read and easily photocopied / scanned

  • John Shovlin, The Political Economy of Virtue: Luxury, Patriotism, and the Origins of the French Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007) and his 'Hume's Political Discourses and the French Luxury Debate', in David Hume's Political Economy, ed. by Carl Wennerlin and Margaret Schabas (New York and London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 203-222 - only for those who really want to get into the topic

  • Donald Winch, 'Adam Smith: Scottish Moral Philosopher as Political Economist', The Historical Journal, 35 (1992), 91-113 - nice and short


Further reading

Consumption and the global



  • Craig Clunas, 'Modernity Global and Local: Consumption and the Rise of the West', American Historical Review, 104, 5 (1999)
  • Anne E. McCants, 'Exotic Goods, Popular Consumption, and the Standard of Living: Thinking about Globalization in the Early Modern World', Journal of World History, 28,4 (2007)
  • Brewer and Trentmann (eds.), Consuming Cultures, Global Perspectives (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2006)



  • David Porter, 'Monstrous Beauty: Eighteenth-Century Fashion and the Aesthetics of the Chinese Taste, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 35,3 (2002) cf. David Porter, Ideographica, esp. ch.3

    Robert Finlay, 'The Pilgrim Art: The Culture of Porcelain in World History', Journal of World History, 9,2 (1998)



  • Chaudhury, 'International Trade in Bengal Silk and the Comparative Role of Asians and Europeans, ca. 1700-1757', Modern Asian Studies, 29 (1995)
  • Debin Ma, 'The Great Silk Exchange: How the World was Connected and Developed', in Pacific Centuries, ed. by Dennis O. Flynn, Lionel Frost and A.J.H. Lantham (London: Routledge, 1999)
  • Beverly Lemire and Giorgio Riello, 'East and West: Textiles and Fashion in Eurasia in the Early Modern Period', Journal of Social History, 41,4 (2008)
  • Femme S. Gaastra, 'The Textile Trade of the VOC: The Dutch Response to the English Challenge', South Asia 19 (1996)
  • Beverly Lemire, Fashion's Favourite: The Cotton Trade and the Consumer in Britain, 1660-1800 (Oxford: OUP, 1991)
  • Riello and Roy (eds.), How India Clothed the World: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500-1850 (Leiden: Brill, 2009)


Fun resources