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By Rémy G. Saisselin

How do possible disparate arenas of Enlightenment philosophy, fiscal theories, boudoir etiquette, literary types, and creative modes coincide within the overdue eighteenth century? during this poetic essay at the evolution of the belief of luxurious and paintings, R?my Saisselin makes use of specified, witty examples to explain the advance of our smooth style, finally the successor of the extra non secular and grand baroque go?t. His research either illuminates and distinguishes among eighteenth-century and sleek sorts of conspicuous consumption.This persuasive discourse depicts the increase of luxe as an get away from ennui and exhibits how, for the 1st time in ecu heritage, a wide classification of rich, leisured humans emerged to make paintings, luxurious, and the avoidance of boredom its preoccupation. Saisselin offers an unique and lucid photograph of the 1st levels within the emergence of a particularly bourgeois flavor.

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Extra info for The Enlightenment against the Baroque: economics and aesthetics in the eighteenth century

Example text

The eighteenth century, one might venture, resolved the opposition between dissipation and morality, spending and frugality, sin and virtue, Mammon and God, by disentangling the economic from the aesthetic, thinking thereby to purify both through the moralization of spending and the naturalization of the aesthetic. <><><><><><><><><><><><> The difference between baroque spending and the new attitude to prodigality, a stance implying a new economics as well as a new aesthetics, can be exemplified with reference to gardens.

Even later economists disapproved; for, being rationalists, they could hardly be expected to appreciate paradox and accept a characterization of what they saw as productive forces, improvement of living conditions, and initiative as being the result of private vices. Mandeville puzzles us less than he did his own contemporaries, for not only are we post-Enlightenment and postbourgeois but we also live in what is characterized as a consumer society. If he seems paradoxical, it may be because he belonged both to a passing world and to one in the making but not yet clearly delineated.

For Du Bos's contemporaries, however, the line between art and luxury remained blurredthough this did not prevent the development of a sophisticated poetics, a therapeutic view of the function of comedy and tragedy, a theory of the passions in the arts, and the insight that over the course of history the arts have risen and fallen in conjunction with the general prosperity of a society. Du Bos's remark, however, does point to the preponderance of luxury in his own time as contrasted with other historical eras, and more precisely with the four great moments of western civilizationthe Age of Pericles, of Augustus, of Leo X, and of Louis XIV.

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