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Voluptuous PhilosophyLiterary Materialism in the French Enlightenment$
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Natania Meeker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226962

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823226962.001.0001

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Reading for Pleasure in the French Enlightenment: the Self-possessed Reader and the Decline of Voluptas

Reading for Pleasure in the French Enlightenment: the Self-possessed Reader and the Decline of Voluptas

Chapter:
(p.59) 2. Reading for Pleasure in the French Enlightenment: the Self-possessed Reader and the Decline of Voluptas
Source:
Voluptuous Philosophy
Author(s):

Natania Meeker

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823226962.003.0003

Increasingly, attempts both to legitimate sensory pleasure, as one means of apprehending the world, and to regulate the engagement of readers with the written word, as a technique for shaping human subjectivity, come to revolve around the notion of self-possession. The model of self-possessed reader—as opposed to that of the Lucretian voluptuary—is one that explicitly excludes voluptas as the proper outcome of reflection and casts suspicion on the power of figura to intervene significantly in the experience of the reading subject. While self-possessed readers may react with enjoyment to a text, they are no longer susceptible to contagious contamination by voluptuous delight.

Keywords:   reading, French Enlightenment, Voluptas, self-possessed reader, figura

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