Abstract

Montesquieu's unfinished essay on taste, often considered weak and superficial, has been neglected by scholars. This article aims to provide a better understanding of the essay, published in incomplete form in the Encyclopédie after Montesquieu's death in 1755, by suggesting connections between his writings on aesthetics and his much more voluminous publications on politics and society. The article examines how Montesquieu sought to negotiate the complexities of cultural and individual differences within a conception of shared human traits—perhaps the fundamental question that eighteenth-century aesthetic theory sought to address.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 71-90
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-18
Open Access
No
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