A Journeyman and a Gentleman: Constructing Aristocratic Identity in the Memoirs of Jacques-Louis Menetra Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 19, 2019
  • Bauer, Nicole Therese
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Although this paper focuses on one individual who is unique and atypical in many ways, Ménétra's complex attitude towards aristocratic identity reveals how debates in the mid-eighteenth century around luxury, nobility and merit affected an everyday individual's identity formation, including the idea that he could construct his identity. Furthermore, the identity that Ménétra fashioned for himself challenged some of the prevailing hierarchies and values of his society even while he sometimes unknowingly reinforced them. I hope to illustrate this somewhat paradoxical idea by discussing the different aspects of aristocratic identity that Ménétra adopted for himself, namely aristocratic honor, the use of leisure time, libertinage, disinterest and waste; and lastly, the importance he places on his appearance and the gaze of others.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Smith, Jay
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

This work has no parents.