Important literary salons began to emerge in seventeenth-century France, and their fame increased with the eighteenth-century hostesses, or salonnières, the Marquise du Deffand, Madame Geoffrin, and Mademoiselle Lespinasse. Throughout eighteenth-century Europe, literary salons played a major role in polite life, allowing writers and social elites to come together in mixed-gender gatherings, usually held in luxurious settings. In addition to their role in promoting elite sociability for both men and women, these salons also played a significant role in literary creation, evaluation and circulation. Salons flourished in Britain, and a key example of these were the London salons attended by a group of literary …
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Prendergast, Amy. "Irish literary salons of the long eighteenth century". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 April 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19346, accessed 25 June 2017.]