chapter  3
28 Pages

Looking Inside: The Ambiguous Interiors of La Petite Maison

Can a house seduce? For certain eighteenth-century French writers, and for a generation of eighteenth-century readers, it would seem that the response to this question is surprisingly affirmative. A more interesting question, then, might ask what this sort of architectural seduction could reveal to eighteenth-century readers. What cultural tensions in eighteenth-century French literature does it illuminate? What kinds of ideological debates are implied by the sway that a specific house (or the objects within it) holds over the one it seduces? What does an architectural seduction tell readers about that peculiar period in eighteenth-century French literary history that has come to be known as the Enlightenment, but which often seems to have little more than seduction on its mind?