"Fragile Lives" is a vivid and engaging account of the everyday lives of Parisians in the eighteenth century. Through the experiences of ordinary people, Arlette Farge traces the solidarities and conflicts which arose between men and women, rich and poor, masters and servants, neighbours and colleagues. Drawing on judicial records, she deals with three arenas of conflict and solidarity: the home, the workplace and the street. By examining these interwoven and 'fragile' lives, Farge is able to challenge our conventional perception of everyday experience in the eighteenth century, of the aspirations of women both within the family and as abandoned mistresses, of the behaviour of the crowd as active and passive participants in street violence, and of the workshop as the arena for social conflicts. Farge paints a picture of a society in a process of mutation which was gradually constructing a new set of values.
Part I: Feelings and Metamorphoses: 1. Space and Ways of Life. 2. Girls for the Marrying. 3."Seduced and Abandoned." 4. Concerning Parents and Children. 5. Undesirable Alliances and Times of Disruption. Part II: Work and its Margins: 6. In the Workshop. 7. At the Workshop Door. Part III: The Crowds: 8. The Crowds Invited. 9. The Crowds Amongst Themselves. 10. The Crowds Upset. Notes. Bibliography.