Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France

Taste and Ideology in Seventeenth-Century France

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This book analyses the use of the crucial concept of 'taste' in the works of five major seventeenth-century French authors, Mere, Saint Evremond, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyere and Boileau. It combines close readings of important texts with a thoroughgoing political analysis of seventeenth-century French society in terms of class and gender. Dr Moriarty shows that far from being timeless and universal, the term 'taste' is culture-specific, shifting according to the needs of a writer and his social group. The notion of 'taste' not only helped to shape a new dominant culture, but also registered the conflicts within that culture between a view of taste that presupposted the values of 'polite society' as an exclusive (though not necessarily aristocratic) group, and a view that stressed the value of the classical-humanist tradition as a source of standards ratified by a broader public. this study sheds light not only on the central concept, but also on the individual authors discussed and on the norms of French classical literature in general.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 244 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 14mm | 320g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521113369
  • 9780521113366
  • 1,433,643

Table of contents

Preface; 1. 'Taste' and history; 2. Defining gout: the dictionaries; 3. Mere: taste and the ideology of honnetete; 4. Saint Evremond: taste and cultural hegemony; 5. La Rochefoucauld: tastes and their vicissitudes; 6. La Bruyere: taste-discourse and the absent subject; 7. Boileau: taste and the institution of 'literature'; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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