Daily Archives: April 10, 2007

Bourgeois Towns:
How Capitalism Became Virtuous, 1300-1776

Table of Contents

Dear Reader:

Thank you for putting up with this, some draft chapters from a book manuscript — to be published, Deo volente, by the University of Chicago Press, perhaps in 2009. Any form of comment you find convenient has my thanks. It would be useful for example if you gave me your copy of the manuscript with your comments directly on it, in printed copy or in electronic form, whether explicit remarks or mere indignant exclamation marks and irritated circlings of errors. I'll send it back, once I've stolen your good ideas, so that you may treasure it forever.

The plan — in your own work you know the usual fate of such plans! — is to proffer an improved MS to the Press in the spring of ‘08. What you have here is the version of early October, 2007, as complete as I could make it by then, submitted to give you plenty of time to look at it. I've tried to make the draft cohere so that you can see the argument and judge at least some of the evidence, but it's early days yet, and Final Coherence, you know, is often achieved late. . . if at all. You will note that the coherence diminishes towards the end of the book: I have not quite gotten my thinking clear there. I have included The Voice of the Author from time to time, identified by this same type face, to keep straight the big and little jobs I need to do, and when in bold to offer promissory notes of various kinds, and to ask you questions directly.

I will continue after this submission working on the manuscript, discovering the many absurdities in it and trying to pay off a few of the numerous promissory notes. I suppose the basic argument of the book won't change — you be the judge. I am open to persuasion. Really I am. Perhaps it is lunacy to argue that a rhetorical change was at the root of the industrial revolution, and of liberalism, and of all our joy, in which case you need to tell me, and just why. I know for sure that you will have many suggestions of books and articles I simply must read before I venture such a strange — yet hoary — argument.
But I do live in hope of an Easter resurrection, so I can move to Volumes 3 and 4 and complete the task for which I now believe my Anglican God put me on earth! Laus Deo.

Bourgeois Towns:
How Capitalism Became Virtuous, 1300-1776

(Volume 2 of The Bourgeois Virtues)