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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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(p.222) Conclusions
Voluptuous Philosophy

Natania Meeker

Fordham University Press

In De rerum natura, Lucretius does not appear to derive his position on matter from the idea that there must exist a fundamental and unbridgeable gap between material substance and the means used to represent this substance to readers. Instead, he sees an engagement with poetic language—and the material pleasures that this language produces in his readers' bodies—as the starting point in the development of a materialist point of view. The Lucretian perspective— wherein figure and substance are intimately conjoined, rather than inherently distinct from one another—persists as a philosophical legacy in eighteenth-century France and shapes the period's discussions of the role of literature in forming and moving readers.

Keywords:   Lucretius, De rerum natura, matter, materialist, literature, eighteenth-century France

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