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Evil: A History in Modern French Literature and Thought [Hardcover]

Damian Catani

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Book Description

May 30 2013 1441185569 978-1441185563
In this original, interdisciplinary approach to evil in French literature, Damian Catani links literary depictions of evil with cultural events to chart a history of the concept in some of the most important texts in modern literature.

Beginning with Balzac and Baudelaire, Catani covers the restoration and the Second Empire before interpreting how Catholic stereotypes of the 'evil feminine' and new scientific theories impacted the work of Lautréamont and Zola. Moving into the twentieth century, evil is then explored in terms of the Self, power, knowledge and politics through readings of Proust, Céline, Sartre and Foucault. By seamlessly bringing together aesthetic, philosophical, historical and ideological concerns to read key French writers from the 18th to the 21st century, this study argues why a broader treatment of literary evils is vital to understanding our contemporary moral and political climate.

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Review

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 20130205 A study that is both wide-ranging and sharply focused. -- Peter Cogman Times Literary Supplement 20131115

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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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