Aristocracy

In class, we are discussing a text by Galdos, a XIXth-century Realist writer.

“Which social class do these characters belong to?” I ask.

“The aristocracy!” the students respond in unison.

“What makes you think that?” I ask.

“Because it says here that they have a servant,” students explain.

4 thoughts on “Aristocracy”

    1. No, of course not. This was the time when a significant class of bourgeoisie was coming into existence everywhere in Europe, and even in Spain. The central mark of that social class (the equivalent of today’s middle-class pretty much) was the refusal to do any manual labor at all. So impoverished bourgeoisie would go hungry and cold but still retain a servant to do the manual work.

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    2. Aristocrats have many servants. On a small state dinner in the 18th century you would have a ratio of four workers per diner, I learned last night.

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  1. I can easily imagine US university students not being clear on the differences between socio-economic class and … bloodline class (for lack of a better term).

    And servants (as opposed to occasional hired help) have traditionally been restricted to higher economic classes.

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