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Thomas Docherty

Benjamin, there is another available instructive originary moment for this examination of our question. When he died on 10 February 1755, Montesquieu was blind, and had indeed suffered from near-total blindness during the last years of his life. Shortly after his death, when his fragmentary and still incomplete Essay on Taste was published, it became immediately apparent what such an affliction might have meant to him. In that essay (probably begun around 1726, and so contemporaneous with the ‘birth’ of aesthetics in the texts of Hutcheson11), Montesquieu had highlighted

in The new aestheticism