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DOI 10.52172/2587-6945_2021_17_3_143


The article discusses the translated (from French) "Guide to a Satisfying Life, for People of Both Sexes» (St. Petersburg, 1781). The genre of the book is tentatively defined as «a guide to finding happiness». The hypothesis is put forward that one of the primary sources of the «guide» is a collection of aphorisms by the Spanish writer Baltasar Gracian «Pocket Oracle, or the Science of Prudence» (1647). Comparative fragments from two books are given as evidence; the principles of their rubrication are compared; the central concept common to them is indicated – «Prudence»; the commonality of the readership is stated – the nobility making a career at the court, in high society. «The Manual...» is a typical product of secular European noble culture and an example of translated moralistic literature of the Enlightenment era. Like all such literature, it is addressed to human nature in general, without any of its national specifics. One of the Enlightenment characteristic concepts that determines the ideological orientation of the «manual» is «Happiness». However, contrary to the expectations set, in particular, by the title of the book, hedonistic views, traditionally considered significant in the Enlightenment concept of Happiness, are not represented in the «Guide...». Religious didactics is also minimal, which allows us to speak about the non-Masonic nature of the «manual». It highlights the eudemonic problems and practical philosophy that contributes to the achievement of success and position by young people (nobles) in a class-based monarchical society. As for «both sexes», gender equality is present exclusively in the title of the book, because all practical recommendations, of course, are focused only on men in it. «The Guide...» can be considered a prototype of those popular «manuals» in the modern world, in which «lessons of happiness» are taught for a small fee and it is told about how quickly and inexpensively a person can become happy.

Key words

Happiness, Pleasure, Eudaemonism, Translated moralistic literature of the XVIII century, Baltasar Gracian, History of ideas.