My thanks to Benjamin Bernard, Bryant Ragan, Randolph Trumbach, and the anonymous readers for their comments on drafts of this article. Address correspondence to: Jeffrey Merrick, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michel Rey explored the sodomitical subculture of eighteenth-century Paris in a series of articles published in the 1980s and 1990s. He collected evidence from the separate morals series in the Archives of the Bastille, which contains police reports about entrapments, mostly in the Luxembourg and Tuileries gardens, from 1715 to 1749, but he did not explore the regular prisoners series, which contains many more cases from those decades, as well as the preceding and following years. This article, based on the complete corpus of police reports from 1723, thirty-six dossiers from the morals series and sixty-seven dossiers from the prisoners series, revisits and revises Rey’s analysis of patterns and changes in conduct and consciousness. It corrects his analysis of the social profile and sexual interests of the men arrested by the police and questions his assertions about community and identity in the subculture. It also outlines some tentative comparisons between the subculture in 1723 and 1781 and between Paris and other cities.