Public Drinking in the Early Modern World: Voices from the Tavern, 1500-1800

Public Drinking in the Early Modern World: Voices from the Tavern, 1500-1800

Publication Date



Until recently the role of the public drinking house has been approached from elitist, folkloric and anecdotal perspectives. The work of a new generation of social historians, however, has raised the tavern’s profile in the academic consciousness and confirmed its position within the mainstream of social and cultural history. It is now recognized that an understanding of the centrality of public drinking to the development of both elite and popular culture is vital to studies of social behaviour. The study of taverns has also been at the forefront of emerging interest in the history of consumption and material culture, and has contributed to a richer understanding of economic history. Constructions of gender and identity are also visible through research into the patterns of behaviour and discourse in and around the public house.

This four-volume reset edition presents a wide-ranging collection of primary sources which uncover the language and behaviour of local and state authorities, of peasants and town-dwellers, and of drinking companions and irate wives. The documents are translated and set in their social and historical context, providing a multidisciplinary collection that will be of great importance to scholars of all areas of social and cultural history of the early modern period.

The vast majority of this material is published here for the first time, ensuring that the collection will open up new avenues of research. Volume 1 draws heavily from the Parisian police archives and includes inspectors’ reports, complaints by the general public and details of court cases to build a picture of drinking in early modern France. Volumes 2 and 3 address public drinking in the Holy Roman Empire through a variety of chronicles, civic ordinances, court records, travel reports and surveys of public houses. Volume 4 locates taverns within a broader analysis of America’s public houses, drawing on visual material as well as journal entries, business reports and newspaper articles. Each volume is accompanied by editorial introductions and is annotated to provide readers with a high-quality resource of scholarly material.


978 1 85196 284 6


Pickering & Chatto






Vols. 1 & 2, The Holy Roman Empire, with Beat Kümin (translator and editor)


Public Drinking in the Early Modern World: Voices from the Tavern, 1500-1800