Front Page Titles (by Subject) AN ESSAY UPON TASTE, IN SUBJECTS OF NATURE, AND OF ART. - Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws
AN ESSAY UPON TASTE, IN SUBJECTS OF NATURE, AND OF ART. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 4 Familiar Letters; Miscellaneous Pieces; The Temple of Gnidus; A Defence of the Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 4.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- Familiar Letters. By President De Montesquieu.
- Letter I.: To Father Cerati * of the Congregation of the Orators of Saint Philip At Rome.
- Letter II.: To the Same.
- Letter III.: To Monsieur L’abbé Venuti * , At Clerac.
- Letter IV.: To the Abbé Nicolini * , At Florence.
- Letter V.: To Mr. Cerati, At Pisa.
- Letter VI.: To Abbé Venuti At Clerac.
- Letter VII.: To Abbé De Guasco, At Turin.
- Letter VIII.: To the Count of Guasco, Colonel of Foot.
- Letter IX.: To the Abbé De Guasco.
- Letter X.: To the Same.
- Letter XI.: To the Same.
- Letter XII.: To the Countess De Pontac.
- Letter XIII.: To Mr. Cerati.
- Letter XIV.: To Abbé De Guasco At Clerac.
- Letter XV.: To the Same.
- Letter XVI.: To the Same.
- Letter XVII.: To the Same.
- Letter XVIII.: To the Same.
- Letter XIX.: To the Same Abbé De Guasco.
- Letter XX.: To the Same.
- Letter XXI.: To Mr. Cerati.
- Letter XXII.: To Abbé De Guasco, At Aix.
- Letter XXIII.
- Letter XXIV.: To the Same.
- Letter XXV.: To the Same.
- Letter XXVI.: To the Same.
- Letter XXVII.: To Mr. Cerati.
- Letter XXVIII.: To Prince Charles Edward.
- Letter XXIX.: To the Grand Prior Solar, Ambassador From Malta, At Rome.
- Letter XXX.: To the Abbé and Count De Guasco, At Paris.
- Letter XXXI.: To Mr. Cerati.
- Letter XXXII.: To Abbé Venuti.
- Letter XXXIII.: To the Abbé Count De Guasco.
- Letter XXXIV.: To the Abbé Venuti, At Bourdeaux.
- Letter XXXV.: To Mr. Cerati.
- Letter XXXVI.: To Abbé Venuti.
- Letter XXXVII.: To Abbé Venuti.
- Letter XXXVIII: To the Abbé Count De Guasco.
- Letter XXXIX.: To Abbé De Guasco.
- Letter Xl.: to the Same.
- Letter Xli.: to the Same.
- Letter Xlii.: to the Same, At Bourdeaux.
- Letter Xliii.: to the Same.
- Letter Xliv.: to the Same Abbé De Guasco.
- Letter Xlv.: to the Same At Vienna.
- Letter Xlvi.: to the Same Abbé De Guasco At Vienna.
- Letter Xlvii.: to the Same, At Verona.
- Letter Xlviii.: to the Same.
- Letter Xlix.: to the Same, At Naples.
- Letter L.: to the Same.
- Letter Li.: to Mr. Cerati.
- Letter Lii.: to the Abbé Marquis Nicolini.
- Letter Liii.: to Abbé Count De Guasco.
- Letter Liv.: to the Same.
- Letter Lv.: to the Auditor Bertolini, At Florence.
- Letter Lvi.: to Abbé Count De Guasco.
- Letter Lvii.: a Billet to the Same.
- Letter Lviii.: to the Grand Prior Solar, At Turin.
- Letter Lix.: the Fragment of a Letter From M. De Montesquieu, to the King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine, to Solicit His Majesty For a Place In the Academy of Nantz.
- Letter Lx.: Fragment of the King of Poland’s Answer, to the Foregoing Letter.
- Letter Lxi.: to M. De Solignac, Secretary to the Literary Society At Nantz.
- Letter Lxii.: From M. De Montesquieu. to the Author of a Short View of the Philosophical Works of Lord Bolingbroke.
- Letter Lxiii.: to the Dutchess of Aiguillon.
- Letter Lxiv.: From the Dutchess of Aiguillon, to Abbé De Guasco.
- Letter Lxv.: an Article Taken From a Letter of Baron Secondat De Montesquieu, to the Abbé Count De Guasco.
- Letter Lxvi.: Article of a Letter to the Same.
- Miscellaneous Pieces of M. De Secondat, Baron De Montesquieu.
- An Oration Pronounced the 24th of January, 1728. By President Montesquieu: When He Was Received Into the French Academy, In the Room of the Late M. De Sacy.
- An Essay Upon Taste, In Subjects of Nature, and of Art.
- Of the Pleasures of the Soul.
- Of the Mental Faculties * .
- Of Curiosity.
- Of the Pleasures of Order.
- Of the Pleasures of Variety.
- Of the Pleasures of Symmetry.
- Of Contrasts.
- Of the Pleasures of Surprize.
- Of Different Causes That Produce Sensation.
- Of Sensibility.
- Of Delicacy.
- Of the Je Ne Scais Quoi.
- The Progression of Surprize.
- Of Beauties Which Result From an Embarrassment of the Soul.
- The Temple of Gnidus.
- The Preface.
- Canto I.
- Canto II.
- Canto III.
- Canto IV.
- Canto V.
- Canto VI.
- Canto VII.
- Cupid Distressed.
- The Analysis of the Spirit of Laws. By M. D’alembert.
- A Defence of the Spirit of Laws. to Which Are Added, Some Explanations.
- Part I.
- Part II.
- The General Idea.
- Of the Counsels of Religion.
- Of Polygamy.
- On Climate.
- Of Toleration.
- Of Celibacy.
- A Particular Error Committed By the Critic.
- Of Marriage.
- Of Usury.
- “of Maritime Usury.
- Part III.: Some Explanations of the Spirit of Laws.
AN ESSAY UPON TASTE, IN SUBJECTS OF NATURE, AND OF ART.
ACCORDING to the present constitution of our being, the soul enjoys three sorts of pleasure. That derived from its very existence; that which results from its union with the body; and that founded upon the turn and prejudices it has received from certain institutions, customs, and habits.
It is the different pleasures of the soul which form the objects of taste; as, the beautiful, the good, the agreeable, the simple, the delicate, the tender, the graceful, the inexpressible charm, the noble, the grand, the sublime, the majestic, &c. For example, when we receive pleasure from the view of what we perceive to be useful to ourselves, we say that it is good; when we feel pleasure in beholding it, without perceiving any present advantage, we call it beautiful.
This the antients did not properly distinguish; they considered all the relative qualities of the mind as merely positive: hence those dialogues in which Plato makes Socrates reason, those dialogues so much admired by the antients, are at present insupportable, because they are founded upon a false philosophy; for all reasonings drawn from the good, the beautiful, perfect, wise, foolish, hard, soft, dry, wet, when treated as things positive, are now of no weight.
The sources of the beautiful, the good, the agreeable, &c. are then in ourselves, and to inquire into their causes, is to inquire into the causes of our mental pleasures.
Let us then examine the mind; let us study it in its actions, and in its passions; let us seek for it in its pleasures, it is there where it shows itself most. Poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dancing, the different kinds of games, and in a word the works of nature and art, can give it pleasure: let us see why, how, and when, they give it; let us endeavour to account for our sensations: this may contribute to form the taste; which is nothing else but an ability of discovering, with delicacy and quickness, the degree of pleasure which every thing ought to give to man.