The Social Life of Coffee (The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse)

A Note on Styles and Conventions

The sosial life of coffee refers extensively to early modern source material in various media, printed, manuscript, and visual. My quotations from these sources attempt to capture the character of the original sources without sacrificing readability. To the latter end, abbreviations have been expanded, the punctuation has often been silently altered, and characteristic such as u, v, w, i and j have been modernized except in book titles.

Until 1752, Britain recognized the “old-style” Julian calendar, which was ten days behind the “new-style” gregorian calendar used by most of the rest of Europe. I have retained old-style dates throughout this work. the legal year began in late March, but i have followed standard convention in modernizing all dates so that the new year is understood to begin on 1 January.

References to Acts of Parliament are given by the regnal year as well as the session, chapter, and pertinent section number. The statutes can be found in a number of reference works. References to the royal proclamations of James VI and i and Charles i may be found in the 1973 and 1983 editions of James F. Larkin and Paul L. Hughes. References to post-Restoration royal proclamations are identified by their numeral in the older work of Robert Steele, ed., Bibliography of Royal Procalmations of the Tudor and Stuart Sovereigns (1910).

The longstanding conflation of “Britis” and “English” identities has come under serious scrutiny in the current age of devolution and growing European union. For the majority of the period under consideration here, the term “British” with reference to the multiple monarchies of ENgland and Scotland is anachronistic. Nevertheless, I continue to use the word as a heuristic means of referring to the various different areas ruled by the Stuart monarchs and their post – 1688 sucessors. WHile this study has taken Scottish and Irish evidence into consideration in its account of British coffee culture, the preponderance of its evidence concern the English case. One of the main reasons for this is that the history of British coffeehouses is intimately related to the urban history of metropolitan London, a city whose cultural predominance loomed large over all of the British Isles. The legal city of London, located within the walls and governed and administered by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the city, is always referred to with capital letters in this work. The metropolitan city of London encompassed  much larger area and had no formal governing structures, but rather fell within various jurisdictions, such as the City of Westminster and the countries of Middlesex and Surrey. References to this broades city are never capitalized.

The notation convention of Adrian Johns’s nature of the Book (1998) and several other works has been adopted here. Full bibliographical details of all works cited in the notes are in the bibliography.


Table of Contens

Part I Coffee : From curiosity to commodity

– An Acquired taste

– Coffee and early modern drug culture

– From Mocha to Java

Part II Inventing the coffeehouse

– Penny universities

– Exotic fantasies and commercial anxieties

Part III Civilizing the coffeehouses

– Before bureaucracy

– Policing the coffeehouse

– Civilizing society

The social Life of Coffee (The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse)

– Brian Cowan –

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