Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the idea of Politeness. A new idea that stalked the land at the start of the eighteenth century in Britain, Politeness soon acquired a philosophy, a literature and even a society devoted to its thrall. It may seem to represent the very opposite now, but at that time, when Queen Anne was on the throne and The Spectator was in the coffee houses, politeness was part of a radical social revolution.How did the idea of politeness challenge the accepted norms of behaviour? How did a notion of how to behave affect the great wealth of eighteenth century culture?

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  • Amanda Vickery 3 episodes
    Reader in History at Royal Holloway
  • David Wootton 16 episodes
    Professor of History at the University of York
  • John Mullan 14 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in English at University College London

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Programme ID: p004y29m

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004y29m

Auto-category: 395 (Etiquette)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. At the start of the 18th century, more precisely in 1711, a new idea took wing.