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.
Berry's monograph, written throughout with great clarity, provides keys to an understanding of the origins of these contemporary issues. His research will prove useful to historians of ideas and also to specialists in ethics, legal philosophy, economics and politics. The Oyster Club, The Scottish Journal of Philosophy