By Elena Russo
Styles of Enlightenment argues that along its democratic beliefs and its efforts to create a unified public sphere, the Enlightenment additionally displayed a bent to erect inflexible limitations whilst it got here to issues of favor and creative expression. The French philosophes tackled the problem of the hierarchy of genres with incredible inflexibility, they usually appeared down on these different types of artwork that they observed as advertisement, renowned, and purely wonderful. They have been confident that the traditional of style used to be too vital a question to be left to the whims of the general public and the vagaries of undefined: aesthetic judgment should belong to some, enlightened minds who might then move it directly to the masses.
Through readings of fictions, essays, memoirs, eulogies, and theatrical works by means of Fénelon, Bouhours, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Mercier, Thomas, and others, Styles of Enlightenment lines the phases of a disagreement among the virile philosophe and the effeminate worldly author, "good" and "bad" flavor, excessive paintings and frivolous leisure, kingdom patronage and the privately subsidized industry, the educational eulogy and worldly dialog. It teases out the finer issues of department at the public battlefields of literature and politics and the recent international of contesting sexual economies.
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Extra resources for Styles of Enlightenment : taste, politics and authorship in eighteenth-century France
Rambouillet, born Catherine de Vivonne-Savelli, from a Roman family, is presented by Guez de Balzac as the heir to Roman urbanitas, now reborn in her Parisian salon. Guez de Balzac would have us believe that the bonne humeur of the polite gatherings in which women preside is of the same nature as that of Cato and Numa; that the aggressive, masculine virtues of the warring noblemen (Roman or French) may blend easily with the politeness of the honnête homme; that one can pass casually from the salon to the battleﬁeld.
25 The power of illusion is so strong that the reader is entirely absorbed into the ﬁction, as a child is drawn to a spectacle that he cannot separate from reality. 27 Diderot the reader is as open to empathy as Diderot the writer. ”28 Perhaps because the ﬁctional world exerted such a strong pull on him, Diderot entertained a very ambivalent attitude toward illusion and trompe-l’oeil eﬀects in the novel, on the stage, and in the visual arts. Indeed, his entire work is split between the surrender to the lure of the ﬁctional world and the drive to uncover its workings, to expose its facticity, to brand it as deceptive.
Sublime eloquence be20 Boudoir and Tribune longs to freedom alone because it delivers harsh truths, strong reasoning, and powerful images. ”12 Sublime eloquence is the highest expression of liberty; it is the language of the ancient republics, not that of monarchical servility, which expresses itself in “delicacy” and reﬁnement. Implicit in his words is the belief that the task of philosophy is to resuscitate it, or at the very least to bring it back to memory. Anything short of that is viewed with suspicion because it amounts to a moral and political surrender.