THE ENLIGHTENED AND DEPRAVED: DECADENCE, RADICALISM, AND THE EARLY MODERN FRENCH NOBILITY
The image of the debauched French aristocrat of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is one that still has power over the international public imagination, from the unending fascination with the Marquis de Sade to the successes of the film Ridicule. Drawing on memoirs, letters, popular songs and pamphlets, and political treatises, The Enlightened and Depraved: Decadence, Radicalism, and the Early Modern French Nobility traces the origins of this powerful stereotype from between the reign of Louis XIV and the Terror of the French Revolution. The decadent and enlightened noble of early modern France, the libertine, was born in a push to transform the nobility from a warrior caste into an intelligentsia. Education itself had become a power through which the privileged could set themselves free from old social and religious restraints. However, by the late eighteenth century, the libertine noble was already falling under attack by changing attitudes toward gender, an emphasis on economic utility over courtly service, and ironically the very revolutionary forces that the enlightened nobility of the court and Paris helped awaken. In the end, the libertine nobility would not survive the French Revolution, but the basic idea of knowledge as a liberating force would endure in modernity, divorced from a single class.
Make your own culture war! Stuck in the city of Dead End, where ambitions go to wither, Rodney Bauman has resigned himself to a life of covering school board budgets and antique store openings. However, led by his own aspirations and the occasional religious vision, Rodney has found the key to realizing his dreams: covering a culture war that he secretly launches himself. At first Rodney finds both notoriety and a Stoic boyfriend, but when his cause accidentally attracts a genuine cultural terrorist named Joy, Rodney succeeds far more than he ever expected...