... from the mental minority is the most noble and at the same time the most exhausting goal of the Enlightenment. In France, however, the Enlightenment has traditionally an extra light in a very own colour: the red lantern of the libertinage. Conventional studies about the libertinage concentrate mainly on its theoretical aspects, on the arguments that are used to demand sexual self-fulfilment. Prange, however, interprets the libertinage as a grandly staged misunderstanding of ourselves, and he shows how deep the thorn of theology sits in the flesh of Enlightenment, even and especially in its most radical form. Biased by Christian sexism, the apparently so sensual, pleasurable Roccoco is unmasked as an age of erotic impoverishment, executed through sexualisation of love and rationalisation of sexuality. Not lust enhancement but lust control is the epitome of the libertinage. A conclusion that makes also our modern sexual culture appear in a new light.
Prange puts the promises of the sexual revolution to the test.