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Reading List

Key Questions

What factors have led discourses about and practices of luxury to change at different historical moments?

How does luxury change when it is disseminated down the social scale?

What are the pitfalls of working across 'more than the longue duree'?What are the benefits of working across cultures, for example, comparing western and eastern ideas and practices of luxury?

How have representations and rhetorics of artisanal skill related to the actual practice of luxury production?

What has been the relation between luxury and innovation, especially with regard to technology?


Some of the below readings can be made accessible online. Please contact below for more details.

Assouly, Olivier, 'Le luxe, un art de la depense', Luxe Encyclopedie

Assouly, Olivier, and Pierre Bergé, eds., Le luxe: essais sur la fabrique de l’ostentation, Paris, 2005.

Berg, Maxine, ‘In Pursuit of Luxury: Global History and British Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century’, Past & Present 132 (2004), pp. 85-142.

Berg, Maxine, Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Oxford, 2005.

Berg, Maxine, ‘Luxury, the Luxury Trades, and the Roots of Industrial Growth: A Global Perspective’, in Handbook of the History of Consumption, ed. Frank Trentmann, Oxford, 2012, pp. 173-191.

Berry, Christopher J., The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation, Cambridge, 1994, Chapter 1: ‘Luxury Goods’, pp. 3-45.

Breward, Christopher, Fashion, Oxford, 2003.

Carpenter, John T., ‘“Twisted” Poses: The Kabuku Aesthetic in Early Edo Genre Painting’, in Nicole Coodlidge Rousmaniere (ed.) Kazari: Decoration and Display in Japan 15th–19th Centuries, (London, 2002), 42–49. Reprinted with permission in P. McNeil (ed.), Critical and Primary Sources in Fashion, vol. 1 (Oxford, 2009).

Cartier, C. ‘‘Class, Consumption and the Economic Restructuring of Consumer Space’, in D. S. G. Goodman and M. Chen, eds., The Middle Class in China, (Edward Elgar, 2013), pp. 34-53

Cartier, C. ‘Production/Consumption and the Chinese City/Region: Cultural Political Economy and the Feminist Diamond Ring’, Urban Geography, 30(4) (2009): 368-390

Cartier, C., ‘The Shanghai-Hong Kong Connection: Fine Jewelry Consumption and the Demand for Diamonds’, in D. S. G. Goodman, ed., The New Rich in China, (London, 2008), pp. 187-200

Castarède, Jean, Le Luxe, Paris, 1992.

Chadha, Radha, and Paul Husband, The Cult of the Luxury Brand, London, 2006.

Clunas, Craig, Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (Honolulu, 1991, 2004), pp. 141-65.

Crowley, John E, 'The Sensibility of Comfort', The American Historical Review, 104/3, (1999): 749-782.

Evans, Caroline, Fashion at the Edge, New Haven, 2003.

Ffoulkes, Fiona, 'Quality Always Distinguishes Itself: L.H. LeRoy and the luxury clothing industry in early nineteenth century Paris', in Berg, M. & Clifford, H. (eds.) Consumers and Luxury: consumer culture in Europe 1650-1850, Manchester, 1999, 183-205.

Frank, Robert, Luxury Fever, Princeton, 2000.

Goldthwaite, Richard, ‘The Economy of Renaissance Italy: The Preconditions for Luxury Consumption’, I Tatti Studies, vol. 2 (1987), pp. 15-39.

Goldthwaite, Richard, 'The Empire of Things: Consumer Demand in Renaissance Italy', in Patronage, Art, and Society in Renaissance Italy, eds. Bill Kent and Pat Simions, Oxford, 1987, pp. 153-75.

Guerzoni, Guido and Gabriele Troilo, ‘Silk Purses out of Sows’ Ears: Mass Rarefaction of Consumption and the Emerging Consumer-Collector’, in The Active Consumer, ed. Marina Bianchi, London, 1998, pp. 174-98.

Gundle, Stephen, Glamour: A History, Oxford, 2008, Chapter 11, “Contemporary Glamour”, pp. 347-88.

Hayward, Maria, 'Luxury or magnificence? Dress at the court of Henry VIII', Costume, 30 (1996): 37-46.

Howell, Martha C., Commerce before Capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, Chapter 4: ‘The Dangers of Dress’, pp. 208-61.

Kovesi, Catherine, Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500, Oxford, 2002.

Kovesi Killerby, Catherine '"Heralds of a Well-Instructed Mind": Nicolosa Sanuti's Defence of Women and Their Clothes', Renaissance Studies, 13.3 (1999), pp. 255-82

Marchand, Stéphane, Les guerres du luxe, Paris, 2001.

Mosher Stuart, Susan, Gilding the Market: Luxury and Fashion in Fourteenth-Century Italy, Philadelphia, 2006.

Muzzarelli, Maria Giuseppina and Antonella Campanini, eds., Disciplinare il lusso: la legislazione suntuaria in Italia e in Europa tra Medioevo ed Età moderna, Rome, 2003.

O’Malley, Michelle and Evelyn Welch, eds., The Material Renaissance, Manchester, 2007.

Peck, Linda Levy, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, Cambridge, 2005.

Perrot, Philippe, Le luxe: Une richesse entre faste et confort, XIIIe-XIXe siècle, Paris, 1995.

Pointon, Marcia R., Brilliant Effects: A Cultural History of Gem Stones and Jewellery, New Haven, 2009.

Rublack, Ulinka, Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe, Oxford, 2010.

Sargentson, Carolyn, Merchants and Luxury Markets. The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth-Century Paris. London, 1996.

Skov, Lise, 'The return of the fur coat: a commodity chain perspective', Current Sociology, 53:1 (2005), 9-32

Stearns, Peter, Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire, New York, 2001, Chapter 2: 'The Emergence of Consumerism', pp. 15-24.

Terrio, Susan J., 'Crafting Grand Cru Chocolates in Contemporary France', American Anthropologist, 98:1 (1996): 67-79.

Thomas, Dana, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre, London, 2008.

Thomson, David, Renaissance architecture: critics, patrons, luxury, Manchester, 1993.

Trentmann, Frank, 'The Modern Genealogy of the Consumer: Meanings, Identities and Political Synapses', in Consuming Cultures Global Perspectives: Historical Trajectories, Transnational Exchanges,eds. John Brewer and Frank Trentmann, Oxford and New York, 2006, pp. 19-70.

Vries, Jan de, ‘Luxury in the Dutch Golden Age in Theory & Practice’, in Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, eds. Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger, Basingstoke, 2003, pp. 41-56.

Welch, Evelyn, 'Public Magnificence and Private Display: Giovanni Pontano's De Splendore (1498) and the Domestic Arts', Journal of Design History 15:4 (2002): 211-221.