Dutch gezellig
Dutch gezellig

The British were not flaneurs, like Parisians, who were looking for life’s pleasures on the streets of the city, at the tables of open cafes, placed directly on the sidewalks, overlooking the ever-hurrying and moving crowd.

Therefore, in England, even those poor people who could not afford to get married, therefore, did not have their own home (after all, in those days a house without a woman remained a room, not a home), even they found a semblance of their hearth, visiting coffee shops and eating in small restaurants, where the whole way of life was adjusted to regular visitors. Thus, spending every evening in their club, visitors had the opportunity to perceive it as a commercial version of a home.

Here is an example from Ibsen’s play, where he satirically depicted the unification of the concepts of home and marriage in a middle-class circle. In the play “Ghosts” (1881), a certain pastor suggests that Oswald Alving, an artist, “will never get the opportunity to live in what is called a well-established house,” because both he and his friends are artists who cannot afford to get married.

As the architect Ernest Newton said in 1891, “the sacredness of the inner life of the house… it is an independent religion, clear and easy to understand. She does not need formal postulates, it is easy to serve her, the rules are the softest, and the reward is peace and satisfaction.”

“Peace and contentment” is exactly what many consider to be a brief definition of home life, family life. This is something like the embodiment of the idea of an otherworldly heavenly order, a place where we are cherished and protected, where we find emotional support, where we can remain ourselves. Here is the very place where we find not only mental, but also physical comfort. “Comfort” is a word that the French philosopher Ernest Renan paid special attention to in 1859: “I have to use this barbaric word in order to express an idea of absolutely non-French origin.”

The word “comfort” seemed barbaric to Renan! I wonder what Renan would say about the even more convenient word cozy, that is, cozy, or Dutch gezellig, or German gemtit-lich, or Danish and Norwegian hygge? At the heart of all these words is the concept of comfort, which can be found only in the walls of the house in contrast to the real or metaphorical cold of the outside world.

The vocabulary of concepts reflecting the inner world of home space in English had expanded significantly by the end of the XVIII and the beginning of the XIX century. New words come into use: homelike (homely, cozy), homemaker (hostess, mother of the family), home (homely, cozy, friendly).

A hundred years later, a survey was conducted in Chicago in the 1970s and 82 families were asked to describe the houses they live in and the houses they would like to live in. The words most frequently found in the answers turned out to be not related to architecture or visual perception. They were emotional in nature: comfortable, cozy, giving an opportunity to relax.

There are also a number of words in German to express the idea of comfort associated with home: heimelig (seemingly native) and hauslich (homely) are the most obvious of them. But behaglich (cozy) – this is already connected not only with physical, but also with emotional comfort, it matters to be inside the space (hag means something fenced). At the same time, another concept of a comfortable and cozy space is associated with the word wohnlich (cozy — about housing), which comes from “to live, to live, to inhabit”. The concept of Gemiit (disposition, character, soul) originally existed as a philosophical category, as a romantic idea of the mind and soul, but by the middle of the XIX century gemiitlich (cozy, pleasant) began to be used to describe the house, and the word became more democratic in the way of use. Going beyond the purely literary language, it was used to express the enjoyment of home life, which became accessible to everyone. Similar penetration of everyday life into the world of art and poetry and the reverse process took place not only in Germany.

“Incidents and incidents from modern life,” according to William Wadsworth, have become a favorite subject of the work of poets and writers of Britain of the XIX century. If before art focused its attention only on the unusual emotions of exceptional people, now it is changing, getting used to reflecting the idyll of the home world.

The Dutch gezellig and gemak are synonyms of the word “comfort”, but most Dutch are adamant that the words have no translation, since they reflect a purely national understanding of the emotional implication. One scientist summarized all the definitions of the word gezellig by compiling a list of synonyms. The word means: simple, cozy, informal, cheerful, hospitable, cultured, kind, decent, decent, generous and keeping traditions.

At first, there was an increase in the popularity of words associated with the concept of physical comfort in Northern Europe. Towards the end of the XIX century, there was already a long tradition of expressing not only physical, but also emotional comfort, which made the dwelling cozy in connection with the architecture of the building.