Libertine clairs-obscurs : the enticement of the shadows
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This article draws an analogy between the early modern definitions of clair-obscur and eighteenth-century French libertine literature. In libertine prose the concept of clair-obscur is used not only to describe voluptuous settings: it also helps authors define libertine writing as always fully conscious of the balance it must reach, for the sake of erotic and aesthetic gratification, between being too clear and therefore crude and being too obscure and therefore unintelligible. However, whereas tradition had conceived shadows as peripheral within representation, libertines conceptualise darkness as an endless source of imaginative liberty and fantasies, making shadows crucial to their pleasure.
Ganofsky , M 2014 , ' Libertine clairs-obscurs : the enticement of the shadows ' , Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies , vol. 37 , no. 4 , pp. 499-515 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12203
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
© 2014 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ganofsky, M. (2014), Libertine Clairs-Obscurs: The Enticement of the Shadows. Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 37: 499–515, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12203. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'