Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • 75.00 (GBP)
    Digital access for individuals
    (PDF download and/or read online)
    Add to cart
    Added to cart
    Digital access for individuals
    (PDF download and/or read online)
    View cart
  • Export citation
  • Buy a print copy
  • Recommend to librarian

Book description

Offering an intimate history of how small things were used, handled, and worn, this collection shows how objects such as mugs and handkerchiefs were entangled with quotidian practices and rituals of bodily care. Small things, from tiny books to ceramic trinkets and toothpick cases, could delight and entertain, generating tactile pleasures for users while at the same time signalling the limits of the body's adeptness or the hand's dexterity. Simultaneously, the volume explores the striking mobility of small things: how fans, coins, rings, and pottery could, for instance, carry political, philosophical, and cultural concepts into circumscribed spaces. From the decorative and playful to the useful and performative, such small things as tea caddies, wampum beads, and drawings of ants negotiated larger political, cultural, and scientific shifts as they transported aesthetic and cultural practices across borders, via nationalist imagery, gift exchange, and the movement of global goods.


Placing the minuscule under the magnifying glass, Small Things in the Eighteenth Century is an astonishingly diverse but uniformly fascinating collection of essays. From teapots, coins, and trinkets to insects, books, and beads, small things can be easy to ignore or forget. And yet in this volume small things are shown to spark big ideas, to move unnoticed through space and time, to traverse seemingly impermeable social and political boundaries. This book is a key intervention in the field and will demand the attention of literary scholars, art and design historians, curators, and anybody interested in gaining a richer sense of everyday life during the eighteenth century.

Joseph Hone - Newcastle University

Small Things in the Eighteenth Century makes an important contribution to cultural history by focusing its readers on the myriad little details that comprised the period's material world. Gewgaws and luxuries as small as a wampum bead, ant, or punctuation mark, as common as a button or as rare as a medal, as complete as a miniature portrait or as fragmented as a glass shard—minute items that could be seen, held, treasured, lost, and traded become a means of measuring crucial developments at home and around the globe. The interdisciplinary expertise of the contributors provides a lively diversity of perspectives on the practical and symbolic meanings of each small thing.

Melinda Rabb - Brown University

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


Page 1 of 2

Page 1 of 2


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.