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The Autonomy of Pleasure – "Libertines, License, and Sexual Revolution" - Columbia Scholarship Online
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The Autonomy of Pleasure: "Libertines, License, and Sexual Revolution"

James A. Steintrager


What would happen if pleasure were made the organizing principle for social relations and sexual pleasure ruled over all? Radical French libertines experimented clandestinely with this idea during the Enlightenment. In explicit novels, dialogues, poems, and engravings, they wrenched pleasure free from religion and morality, from politics, aesthetics, anatomy, and finally reason itself, and imagined how such a world would be desirable, legitimate, rapturous—and potentially horrific. Laying out the logic and willful illogic of radical libertinage, this book ties the Enlightenment engagement with ... More

Keywords: Enlightenment, Pleasure, Libertine, Sexual liberation, Empiricism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780231151580
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2016 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231151580.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James A. Steintrager, author