The Rules of Art


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Written with verve and intensity (and a good bit of wordplay), this is the long-awaited study of Flaubert and the modern literary field that constitutes the definitive work on the sociology of art by one of the world’s leading social theorists. Drawing upon the history of literature and art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, Bourdieu develops an original theory of art conceived as an autonomous value. He argues powerfully against those who refuse to acknowledge the interconnection between art and the structures of social relations within which it is produced and received. As Bourdieu shows, art’s new autonomy is one such structure, which complicates but does not eliminate the interconnection.

The literary universe as we know it today took shape in the nineteenth century as a space set apart from the approved academies of the state. No one could any longer dictate what ought to be written or decree the canons of good taste. Recognition and consecration were produced in and through the struggle in which writers, critics, and publishers confronted one another.

Table of Contents
Translator’s Preface
Prologue: Flaubert, Analyst of Flaubert: A Reading of Sentimental Education 1
Pt. I Three States of the Field
1 The Conquest of Autonomy: The Critical Phase in the Emergence of the Field 47
2 The Emergence of a Dualist Structure 113
3 The Market for Symbolic Goods 141
Pt. II Foundations of a Science of Works of Art
1 Questions of Method 177
2 The Author’s Point of View: Some General Properties of Fields of Cultural Production 214
Pt. III To Understand Understanding
1 The Historical Genesis of the Pure Aesthetic 285
2 The Social Genesis of the Eye 313
3 A Theory of Reading in Practice 322
Da Capo: Illusion and the Illusio 331
Postscript: For a Corporatism of the Universal 337
Notes 349
Index of Names 397
Subject Index 404

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