The Bedroom An Intimate History Michelle Perrot, Lauren Elkin

Publication date:
21 Aug 2018
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm

The winner of France’s prestigious Prix Femina Essai (2009), this imaginative and captivating book explores the many dimensions of the room in which we spend so much of our lives—the bedroom. Eminent cultural historian Michelle Perrot traces the evolution of the bedroom from the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans to today, examining its myriad forms and functions, from royal king’s chamber to child’s sleeping quarters to lovers’ trysting place to monk’s cell. The history of women, so eager for a room of their own, and that of prisons, where the principal cause of suffering is the lack of privacy, is interwoven with a reflection on secrecy, walls, the night and its mysteries.
Drawing from a wide range of sources, including architectural and design treatises, private journals, novels, memoirs, and correspondences, Perrot’s engaging book follows the many roads that lead to the bedroom—birth, sex, illness, death—in its endeavor to expose the most intimate, nocturnal side of human history.

Michelle Perrot is professor emeritus at Paris VII and one of France’s most distinguished cultural historians. She has received numerous awards and honors in France and abroad for her published histories of work, prisons, private life, and women. Lauren Elkin is an award-winning writer and translator. She lives in Paris.