Society of Pleasures
In the days of Louis XIV, the experience of pleasure was as much a social and political tool as as essential ingredient in personal life. Kathryn Hoffmann, in an interdisciplinary volume, explores this 'society of pleasures' by studying the strange couplings of pleasure, power and knowledge which took shape within it. She analyzes the politics of pleasure and knowledge arising in notions of public rights, conundrums of aesthetics, and the politics of erotics. In so doing, Hoffmann reveals that the society of pleasures was not law, or policy, or an exact procedure of totalizing power, but a state and a people where the logic of pleasure always contained the trap of violent oppression, a place where desire and forces, the caress and the grip, informed and fed upon each other. A unique work which manages to intertwine both canonical literary works and documents from the margins of history, philosophy, and gastronomy, Society of Pleasures locates the passions and essence of a legendary society and traces the routes to the modern in the fissures of an absolutist dream.