The Idea of Luxury

A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

The Idea of Luxury

In this far-ranging and innovative study Christopher Berry explores the meanings and ramifications of the idea of luxury. Insights from political theory, philosophy and intellectual history are utilized in a sophisticated conceptual analysis that is complemented by a series of specific historical investigations. Dr. Berry suggests that the value attached to luxury is a crucial component in any society's self-understanding, and shows how luxury has changed from being essentially a negative term, threatening social virtue, to a guileless ploy supporting consumption.


"...he makes a strong, trenchantly argued case for the indispensability of the category of luxury to any society's self-understanding." Robert Anchor, American Historical Review