Friday, March 05, 2010

Pg. 99: Thomas Kavanagh's "Enlightened Pleasures"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Enlightened Pleasures: Eighteenth-Century France and the New Epicureanism by Thomas M. Kavanagh.

About the book, from the publisher:
Novelists, artists, and philosophers of the eighteenth century understood pleasure as a virtue—a gift to be shared with one’s companion, with a reader, or with the public. In this daring new book, Thomas Kavanagh overturns the prevailing scholarly tradition that views eighteenth-century France primarily as the incubator of the Revolution. Instead, Kavanagh demonstrates how the art and literature of the era put the experience of pleasure at the center of the cultural agenda, leading to advances in both ethics and aesthetics.

Kavanagh shows that pleasure is not necessarily hedonistic or opposed to Enlightenment ideals in general; rather, he argues that the pleasure of individuals is necessary for the welfare of their community.
Learn more about Enlightened Pleasures at the Yale University Press website.

Thomas M. Kavanagh, the Augustus R. Street Professor of French and department chair at Yale University, is the author of Dice, Cards, Wheels: A Different History of French Culture.

The Page 99 Test: Enlightened Pleasures.

--Marshal Zeringue