chapter  10
23 Pages

The narrative space of desire

Concealed in the narrative structure of The Genius of Architecture is the implied objective of the architect: to create a sensuous architectural experience modeled on the gradual seduction of a lover. However, one should not assume that Le Camus sought to reproduce the libertine space of seduction, typical of the gallant eighteenthcentury society. Although Le Camus borrows some passages from The Little House and follows its narrative structure, he never explicitly acknowledges the influence of Bastide’s novel on his architectural treatise, as he did with Servandoni, Le Brun, and others. Even though seduction is an important part of his architectural theory as evidenced by his insistence on “The Art of Pleasing in Architecture,” he clearly did not want his architectural treatise to be reduced to the erotic space of a boudoir novel. If one looks at his entire body of work, particularly his later literary writings, there is an explicit desire to recover a more original meaning of Eros, as expressed in classical tales, where desire and unrequited love offer the possibility of articulating an ethical position: finding an appropriate conduct between what is desired and what is given to the senses.