Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy (Early European Research, Volume 14)

November 1, 2020
Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy (Early European Research, Volume 14)

This book unravels the complex interaction of the paradigms ofluxury and greed which lie at the origins of modern consumptionpractices. In the Western world, the phenomenon of luxury and theethical dilemmas it raised appeared, for the first time sinceantiquity, in early modern Italy. Here, luxury emerged as a coreidea in the conceptualization of consumption. Simultaneously,greed—which manifested in new and unrestrained consumptionpractices—came under close ethical scrutiny. As the buying power ofnew classes gained pace, these paradigms evolved as they continuedboth to influence, and be influenced by, other emerging globalcultures through the early modern period. After defining luxury andgreed in their historical contexts, the volume's chapters elucidatenew consumptive goods, from chocolate to official robes of state;they examine how ideas about, and objects of, luxury and greed weredisseminated through print, diplomacy, and gift-giving; and theyreveal how even the most elite of consumers could fake their luxuryobjects. A group of international scholars from a range ofdisciplines thereby provide a new appraisal and vision of luxuryand the ethics of greed in early modern Italy.