On Evil

Terry Eagleton

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On Evil

On Evil In this witty accessible study the prominent Marxist thinker Terry Eagleton launches a surprising defense of the reality of evil drawing on literary theological and psychoanalytic sources to sugg

  • Title: On Evil
  • Author: Terry Eagleton
  • ISBN: 9780300151060
  • Page: 325
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this witty, accessible study, the prominent Marxist thinker Terry Eagleton launches a surprising defense of the reality of evil, drawing on literary, theological, and psychoanalytic sources to suggest that evil, no mere medieval artifact, is a real phenomenon with palpable force in our contemporary world.In a book that ranges from St Augustine to alcoholism, Thomas AquIn this witty, accessible study, the prominent Marxist thinker Terry Eagleton launches a surprising defense of the reality of evil, drawing on literary, theological, and psychoanalytic sources to suggest that evil, no mere medieval artifact, is a real phenomenon with palpable force in our contemporary world.In a book that ranges from St Augustine to alcoholism, Thomas Aquinas to Thomas Mann, Shakespeare to the Holocaust, Eagleton investigates the frightful plight of those doomed souls who apparently destroy for no reason In the process, he poses a set of intriguing questions Is evil really a kind of nothingness Why should it appear so glamorous and seductive Why does goodness seem so boring Is it really possible for human beings to delight in destruction for no reason at all

    On Evil Terry Eagleton Books Dec , On Evil Terry Eagleton on FREE shipping on qualifying offers An impassioned argument for the existence of evil from one of the most respected and influential critics of our day In this witty On Evil by Terry Eagleton On Evil is largely a literary analysis of the issue of bad behaviour Eagleton ranges from that expert on the evil psyche, William Golding, and other modern novelists, to Freud and Shakespeare, to the th century philosophers of evil, Schopenhauer and Kierkegaard, to the biblical books of St Paul and Job. On Evil Thomas Aquinas, Brian Davies, Richard Regan May , On Evil Thomas Aquinas, Brian Davies, Richard Regan on FREE shipping on qualifying offers The De Malo represents some of Aquinas most mature thinking on goodness, badness, and human agency In it he examines the full range of questions associated with evil Evil Official Site Watch on CBS All Access Evil is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest in training and a carpenter as they investigate the Church s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions, and hauntings. The Best Books on Evil Five Books Expert Recommendations The evil that is at work is the inability to tolerate another person s recognition of one s own humanity and mortality He prefers the false coin of Regan and Goneril s affections I think that this is a compelling reading of the play. Watch Evil First Look At Evil On CBS Full show on CBS May , Watch the preview trailer for Evil, a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion Evil, which comes from The Good Fight creators Michelle and Robert King, stars Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, Aasif Mandvi, and This fall, watch new episodes of Evil

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    One thought on “On Evil

    1. Jon on said:

      I recently went to hear a lecture by the author--sometimes described as one of the pre-eminent literary theorists of recent years--and bought a copy of this book so he could sign it. We joked briefly about the fact that he had dedicated it to Henry Kissinger. Given how much Eagleton has read, how much he knows, and how witty he is, I was a little disappointed in the book. He distinguishes between evil (what many might call radical evil) and mere wickedness, which is the kind of behavior that res [...]

    2. Steven on said:

      Eagleton wants to demystify evil; he argues that evil is both real and explicable, and he sets out to give an account of it in these terms. His basic premise is that evil transcends social conditioning and that, metaphysically, it takes an attitude towards being as such, namely that of annihilation. Evil seeks to destroy all being. Yet this does not mean that it is supernatural, for Eagleton links the idea of the annihilation of being with Freud's death drive: Those who fall under the sway of th [...]

    3. Blair on said:

      Mixing theology, political history, modern philosophy and contemporary literary criticism, this is a readable and entertaining treatise on the concept of evil. It's short - actually more like a long-form essay - and although its conclusions are arguably vague, it's very interesting, and you will come away with a long list of further reading.

    4. David on said:

      I quite enjoyed this discussion on evil and different perspectives on it, and there were quite a lot of things that I will definitely revisit at a later date. I also appreciated the inclusion of liberal and conservative perspectives on evil, and the weaknesses of each. I think my favorite part of the book was the analysis of Irish literature, which was fascinating and gave me plenty of other books I would like to read. His grasp and understanding of philosophy and its applications and pitfalls i [...]

    5. Jesse on said:

      This is my first experience with Eagleton, so maybe I'm just not accustomed to his style, but if all of his work is like "On Evil," I don't think I'll be getting back to his work any time soon. He tries to take on a broad, difficult topic, a philosophical obstruction that has been an obsession of philosophy and literature since people started making words, but nothing profound or illuminating emerges from the exercise. The only thing deep about On Evil is the topic itself, and Eagleton only mana [...]

    6. Deborah Murk on said:

      The author says the same thing over and over, and then at the very end writes that America deserved 9/11 because we have done so many bad things. What a waste of time. Total crap. I give in zero stars.

    7. Julian on said:

      'it was ok'some interesting conclusions but very roundabout arguing that only lines up for brief instances.

    8. Bulent on said:

      Bir edebiyat kuramcısı olan Eagleton'dan beklenecek kadar çok edebiyat metnine gönderme içeriyor kitap. Görece olarak küçük hacmine rağmen İngiliz, Fransız, Amerikan hatta İrlanda edebiyatına göndermeler ile dolu. Batı felsefesi, Hristiyan teolojisi ve edebiyat üzerine analizler ile kötülük kavramı etrafından dolaşan kitap, bu metinlere aşina olmayanlar için takip etmesi oldukça zor bir metin aslında. Kitabın ağırlıklı olarak üçüncü bölümü kötülük kavram [...]

    9. Ron on said:

      The tale of On Evil by Terry Eagleton is a short book as intellectual treatises go, logging in at 192 pages. Especially short because it attempts to encircle the whole of evil known to man.On Evil by Terry EagletonMy rating: 2 of 5 starsThe tale of On Evil by Terry Eagleton is a short book as intellectual treatises go, logging in at 192 pages. Especially short because it attempts to encircle the whole of evil known to man. Professor Eagleton is the man for the job as his intellectual credentials [...]

    10. Daniel on said:

      It's hard to dispute anything Eagleton says, which is either the mark of a reasonable man or a lack of difficult statements.Most importantly this is a book written to suggest "Evil" to an age that tends to disregard the category, and to talk more generally around the subject as a means of suggestion.He starts by doing a literary survey of evil, reviewing Pincher Martin, The Three Policemen, Lord of the Flies, and a few other works less majorly. The interest paid to William Golding is interesting [...]

    11. Philipp on said:

      Fun, short book (or long essay?) on "evil" in theology and literature and a little bit on "evil" in history. You don't have to agree with Eagleton's conclusions to enjoy this (in fact, I disagree with most of them - I think "evil" doesn't even exist). Eagleton is a literary theorist and a Marxist and it clearly shows. For him, evil is caused by institutions that make normally "ok" people do evil things. He doesn't really support this with studies or any numbers, he rather shows characters from l [...]

    12. Jennifer on said:

      This is a delightful read, though frustrating at times if what you want is a solid argument. I'm not much sold on the theory of evil that he does give, but it's too underdeveloped as it stands for me to make a solid judgment either way. Some favorite bits:"Pure autonomy is a dream of evil. It is also the myth of middle class societyIn Shakespearian drama, those who claim to depend upon themselves alone, claiming sole authorship of their own being, are almost always villains. You can appeal to pe [...]

    13. Michael on said:

      Stopped reading after he calls the Catholic Church's doctrine of the Immaculate Conception absurd. He does this so he can make his own non-Christian theory of Original Sin.

    14. Scott on said:

      Though clearly a talented literary critic, this unfocused and over-familiar attempt to define and prove the existence of evil was unconvincing, meandering, and ultimately pointless. We were doomed from the start when the book purported to use literary, theological, and psychoanalytic (read: one Freudian concept) lenses to focus its point. You don't prove things by these means, you posit them. And that's a fine thing to do provided you go somewhere with it. Here, Eagleton just places his definiti [...]

    15. d on said:

      I found this very slow moving to begin with, but was drawn in the further I got into the book. It's an interesting look at the concept of evil, Eagleton using religion, literature and historical events to illustrate ideas that have shaped Western perceptions of eeeeeevil (because hello not everyone is burdened by original sin - some of us get to be totally unoriginal about the whole thing) and how they're manifested in works like Paradise Lost or visible in the acts of the Nazis. I like that it [...]

    16. Zack Clemmons on said:

      Besides a tendency to call loosely-packed amalgamations of bald assertions, assumptions, and oblique observations "arguments," this was a pretty fun read. Certainly strongest when Eagleton is talking about books--comparing literary manifestations of wickedness and villainy to whittle down to an adequate definition of evil. The Freudian lines of thought are pretty fun too, and sound a nice resonance with Augustine and Kierkegaard. Certainly weakest when he's talking theology or materialism, when [...]

    17. John Fredrickson on said:

      Eagleton is a difficult author to read, as he is deeply knowledgeable and subtle in his argumentation. This book was perhaps a bit too subtle for my taste. The book felt more like a varied exploration of facets of evil rather than a directed exposition. It was difficult to follow.

    18. Jarod on said:

      Weak barely brushes the surface of a large philosophical subject.

    19. Nick Jones on said:

      I read this by accident. I was filling in time, mooching around a bookshop waiting for my partner to turn up when I saw this on a shelf. I read a bit and thought it was amusingd I don’t expect Terry Eagleton to be amusing. I’ve read some of his earlier work, introductions to the outrageous French literary theory that was so fashionable back in the 1970s: Eagleton was respectful but not entranced.d by his austere Marxist. Since then he seems to have returned to his Catholic roots: he is now a [...]

    20. Sharad Pandian on said:

      Eagleton wants to make a distinction between "wickedness", which loosely consists of bad deeds committed due to garden-variety vices like greed, and "evil", bad deeds without clear rationale. So a Nazi who did what he did simply to satisfy his desire for hoarding wealth would be wicked while Hitler's need for elimination of the Jewish people, which arose out of an irrational need for purity and annihilation, would count as evil. Although Eagleton draws on psychoanalytic ideas like Freud's death [...]

    21. Musca on said:

      Kinda like the simple version of Zizek's books The Abyss of Freedom and Welcome to the Desert of the Real. It's about the different choices divided from moralities based on Genetic Determinism or Environmental Determinism, which mainly focus on whether humans basically have FREE WILL or not, and whether they should take responsibility for what they have done (mostly the 'evil' things talked in this book, like 9/11 attacks, etc) or not.But it doesn't share anything new or original.

    22. Wishkid on said:

      After reading the first page of this book, the first paragraph at that - I almost threw it out the window. Eagleton states that "Children, after all, are only semi-socialized creatures who can be expected to act pretty savagely from time to time." Also, on the first paragraph, "Perhaps children murder each other all the time and simply keep quiet about it." I though that to be pretty ridiculous, I live near a playground and while children screaming drives me nuts, they seem perfectly socialized [...]

    23. Laurinha Lero on said:

      "Traditionally, evil is seen not as sexy but as mind-numbingly monotonous. Kierkegaard speaks of the demonic in The Concept of Anxiety as 'the contentless, the boring'. Like some modernist art, it is all form and no substance. Hannah Arendt, writing of the petit-bourgeois banality of Adolf Eichmann, sees him as having neither depth nor any demonic dimension. But what if this depthlessness is exactly what the demonic is like? What if it is more like a minor official than a flamboyant tyrant?"Atra [...]

    24. Rambox on said:

      Stephen Fry once explained the difference between American and British humour: whereas the all-knowing big-dicked American is an endless source of perfect one-liners, the British humourist is a dickless and pathetic failure. Yet it is through their posturr of failure that British comedic characters develop their identities and we come to know who they are - while each American comedic protagonist is indistinguishable from the other and therefore identityless. There is a great art to a continenta [...]

    25. AyaSuu on said:

      Evil is a topic I've been examining for quite some time and because I liked Eagleton's "Literary Theory: An Introduction" I've expected a lot from "On Evil" and am very disappointed. Eagleton claims that being evil means doing evil without reason or motive. It means destroying things just because. With this definition, he fails to find examples of true evil in history or politics, so he examines examples from literature. These were the passages I enjoyed the most. However, in all his examples he [...]

    26. Will on said:

      The positive:As a collection of musings, or perhaps what could be read as a wide-spanning and phenomenally tangential conversation, this book excels. The range of topics explore and viewpoints admired, supported, and sometimes shunned, are interesting and gripping. On the subjects of God (and our relationship to him) and Hell, I thoroughly enjoyed every page. There is some psychoanalysis that falls into the realm of pop-science - or perhaps simply focusses a little much on the philosophical aspe [...]

    27. Jamie on said:

      Eagleton is an engaging writer with many ideas about the concept of evil, as articulated in literature. Yet, this thin book lacks focus and what seems at points to be a guiding thesis gets bogged down by inconsistencies and logical problems (e.g. evil is often explained as both X and not X, and X is also characteristic of things that are not evil). These points should have been better explained as I was often writing "why?" and "how so?" into the ample margins of my copy. In fact, I strongly sus [...]

    28. Elliot Ratzman on said:

      Lit critic Terry Eagleton’s book on evil is surprisingly good; surprising because I’ve read so much on the topic that little strikes me as new. Eagleton, however, has renewed my interest with a robust defense of metaphysical (“taking up an attitude towards being as such”) evil through philosophy, literature and psychoanalysis. Eagleton is a Marxist Catholic, not as paradoxical as it sounds, who describes theological terms in materialist spins that makes you want to commit them to memory. [...]

    29. Jason Trent on said:

      I read this because it looked to be the kind of thing you would be assigned in college. I had read a little bit of Eagleton 'at uni' . Hes a sort of post-Marxist responder to the creaky colonialist devotion to the 'Western Canon that haunts the skull of Harold Bloom. "On Evil' is a rambling sort of lecutre-series-in-print on the ideal of evil historically and phiosophically. I am greadually acquainting myself with the big shots of philosophy, so I got a lot of the points 0f reference, even if I [...]

    30. Scott on said:

      I bought the book almost solely on the dedication to Kissinger, that is the height of humor. Mr Eagleton's literary critique is astonishing and in particular to someone like myself who aspires to middlebrow, it takes some close reading at times, but he clearly has a remarkable ability.His blind spot I feel is with the real world, especially where inevitabilities and outcomes are concerned. His devout Marxism (and seemingly less so), Catholicism tend to lock him into a pretzel logic. His argument [...]

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