Styles of Enlightenment: Taste, Politics, and Authorship in Eighteenth-Century France (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

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9780801884764: Styles of Enlightenment: Taste, Politics, and Authorship in Eighteenth-Century France (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

Styles of Enlightenment argues that alongside its democratic ideals and its efforts to create a unified public sphere, the Enlightenment also displayed a tendency to erect rigid barriers when it came to matters of style and artistic expression. The French philosophes tackled the issue of the hierarchy of genres with surprising inflexibility, and they looked down on those forms of art that they saw as commercial, popular, and merely entertaining. They were convinced that the standard of taste was too important a matter to be left to the whims of the public and the vagaries of the marketplace: aesthetic judgment ought to belong to a few, enlightened minds who would then pass it on to the masses.

Through readings of fictions, essays, memoirs, eulogies, and theatrical works by Fénelon, Bouhours, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Mercier, Thomas, and others, Styles of Enlightenment traces the stages of a confrontation between the virile philosophe and the effeminate worldly writer, "good" and "bad" taste, high art and frivolous entertainment, state patronage and the privately sponsored marketplace, the academic eulogy and worldly conversation. It teases out the finer points of division on the public battlefields of literature and politics and the new world of contesting sexual economies.

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From the Back Cover :

Styles of Enlightenment argues that alongside its democratic ideals and its efforts to create a unified public sphere, the Enlightenment also displayed a tendency to erect rigid barriers when it came to matters of style and artistic expression. The French philosophes tackled the issue of the hierarchy of genres with surprising inflexibility, and they looked down on those forms of art that they saw as commercial, popular, and merely entertaining.

Through readings of fictions, essays, memoirs, eulogies, and theatrical works by Fénelon, Bouhours, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Mercier, Thomas, and others, Styles of Enlightenment traces the stages of a confrontation between the virile philosophe and the effeminate worldly writer, "good" and "bad" taste, high art and frivolous entertainment, state patronage and the privately sponsored marketplace, and the academic eulogy and worldly conversation. It teases out the finer points of division on the public battlefields of literature and politics and the new world of contesting sexual economies.

"Illuminating and original, Styles of Enlightenment is a welcome addition to eighteenth-century studies."― Clio

"The success of the book lies in Russo's ability to stitch together eighteenth-century literary and ethical theory with Augustinian theology and sociology."― Modern Language Review

"What makes her contribution to eighteenth-century scholarship particularly noteworthy, even groundbreaking, is the new light it sheds on the entire movement of ideas known as the Enlightenment."― Substance

"Drawing on recent scholarship by Jay Caplan, Gregory Brown, and Joan DeJean, as well as on an abundance of lively quotations from the literature and art criticism of this period, Russo demonstrates that the philosophes' lofty condemnation of modern taste did not prevent them from succumbing to its appeal."― Eighteenth-Century Life

About the Author :

Elena Russo is a professor of 17th- and 18th-century French literature at the Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of several books, including La Cour et la ville de la littérature classique aux Lumières and S keptical Selves: Empiricism and Modernity in the French Novel.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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