How Sofas Changed the World
THE AGE OF COMFORT:
When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began.
By Joan DeJean.
Bloomsbury. 295 pp. $28
The home as we under-stand it—not just a place to eat and sleep but also one that supports and enhances personal life and well-being—is a remarkably recent invention. The clean, comfortable private residence, which first proliferated in 17th-century republican Holland, was a tangible sign of the dawning Age of Reason and its educated middle class, embrace of progress, and recognition of human rights.
Joan DeJean’s claim that the French rather than...