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Evil: A History in Modern French Literature and Thought Hardcover – May 30 2013


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In this wide-ranging exploration of evil in literature and film, Catani sets changing moral positions in historical context to create a rich survey of responses to this perennial theme. Seeking a more conceptually rigorous approach to ethical questions than Praz's aestheticisation or Bataille's glamorisation he offers a penetrating and innovative assessment that enhances our understanding of evil. -- Rosemary Lloyd, Rudy Professor Emerita of French, Indiana University Bloomington, USA A study that is both wide-ranging and sharply focused. -- Peter Cogman Times Literary Supplement At the heart of this work is a profound intellectual commitment to the development of the concept of evil as a responsible instrument of critical thought. Such a critical conceptualization is all the more necessary, Catani argues, in the wake of normative and ideological instrumentalization of evil since the advent of the 'War on Terror'. In this context one of the most important achievements of Catani's work is to demonstrate that literature, as a discourse of knowledge that can intersect with science, theology, politics, and history, deserves to play a decisive role in deepening and complexifying the terms of public debate. French Studies The breadth of this study, its careful close readings and its lucid style ensure that it will be of interest to scholars and students of modern literature and intellectual history Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol. 50 This is an absorbing study of the concept of evil in French culture from the 19th century to the present day... The breadth of this study, its careful close readings and its lucid style ensure that it will be of interest to scholars and students of modern literature and intellectual history. Forum for Modern Language Studies

About the Author

Damian Catani is Lecturer in the Department of European Cultures and Languages at Birkbeck, University of London, UK.

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