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By Maxine Berg, Elizabeth Eger

This quantity explores the political, monetary, ethical, and highbrow results of the creation and intake of luxurious items within the 18th century. The heritage of luxurious hyperlinks varied themes of enquiry akin to fabric tradition, style, civility and sensibility, literature, and artwork. The textual content presents a broadly-based account from quite a few views, addressing key subject matters of financial debate, fabric tradition, the foundations of artwork and flavor, luxurious as ''female vice,'' and the unique.

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25–6. 1 In offering ‘luxury’ as the term which best exemplified contemporary conceptual confusion, Diderot counted on his readers’ familiarity with a continuing controversy about the consequences of massively increased consumption in Europe’s Atlantic rim since the beginning of the seventeenth century. 4 Mandeville achieved great notoriety throughout the eighteenth century, but not because of any supposed economic doctrines buried in The Fable’s dialogues and polemical essays. Responsible, rather, was his claim that Christian ethics were psychologically implausible and that the traditions of moral philosophy derived from Christianity served the ideological and socialising purpose of keeping the self-regarding sources of human desire hidden from view.

63 As we have seen, Rousseau’s critique was followed by Smith’s solution to the riddle of luxury, that is, that it was not consumption that made wealth grow, but frugality and capital accumulation. 64 Adam Smith’s solution did not, however, completely displace luxury from later eighteenthcentury debate. He himself, in the last edition of the Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1790, pointed out that the disposition to admire the rich and neglect the poor caused corruption of our moral sentiments. 65 Smith’s chapter ‘Of the origin of Ambition, and of the distinction of Ranks’ in The Theory of Moral Sentiments analysed the 22 Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger ‘parade’ and ‘pursuit of riches’.

46 If used as a neutral index of the effect of increasing affluence in portions of society, then the idea of luxury could be brilliantly suggestive, as in Mandeville’s sparkling satire. 47 Here he took on the Tatler’s editor, Isaac Bickerstaff, challenging his claims to instil public virtue and disagreeing with his support for introducing sumptuary laws in Britain. Few critics have yet analysed Mandeville’s journalism or poetry in literary terms, or considered the implications of his choice of medium for distilling his political message.

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