Perils of Uglytown

Perils of Uglytown

Studies in Structural Misanthropology from Plato to Rembrandt

  • Author: Berger, Harry
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • ISBN: 9780823245178
  • eISBN Pdf: 9780823270590
  • eISBN Epub: 9780823270583
  • Place of publication:  New York , United States
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Year of digital publication: 2015
  • Month: July
  • Language: English

With characteristic wit, Harry Berger, Jr., brings his flair for close reading to texts and images across two millennia that illustrate what he calls “structural misanthropology.” Beginning with a novel reading of Plato, Berger emphasizes Socrates’s self-acknowledged failures. The dialogues, he shows, offer up, only to dispute, a misanthropic polis. The Athenian city-state, they worry, is founded on a social order motivated by apprehension—both the desire to take and the fear of being taken. In addition to suggesting new political
and philosophical dimensions to Platonic thought, Berger’s attention to rhetorical practice offers novel ways of parsing the dialogic method itself.

In the book’s second half, Berger revisits and revises his earlier accounts of Italian humanism, Elizabethan drama, and Dutch painting. Berger shows how structural misanthropology helps us to read the competitive practices that characterize Renaissance writing and art, whether in Machiavelli’s constitutional prostheses, Shakespeare’s pageants of humiliation, or the elbow jabs of Dutch portraiture.

  • Cover
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • 1. A Polar Model of Culture Change: Introduction Structural Misanthropology
    • 2. The Discourse of Pleonexia: Thucydides and Plato on the Politics of Communication
    • 3. Dying Angry: The Wrath of Socrates in Plato’s Phaedo
    • 4. More Than a Talking Head: Socrates and Kephalos in Republic 1
    • 5. The Perils of Uglytown: Structural Misanthropology in Plato’s Republic
    • 6. Adeimantus and Glaucon
    • 7. Four Virtues in the Republic: (1) Wisdom
    • 8. Four Virtues in the Republic: (2) Courage, The Well-Born Lye
    • 9. Four Virtues in the Republic: (3) Temperance
    • 10. Four Virtues in the Republic: (4) Justice
    • 11. Apprehension in the Timaeus: Plato’s Nervous Narrator
    • 12. Cybernetic Alienation: Prosthetic Strategies in Alberti, Leonardo, Castiglione, and Machiavelli
    • 13. Collecting Body Parts in Leonardo’s Cave: Vasari’s Lives and the Erotics of Obscene Connoisseurship
    • 14. Prospero’s Humiliation
    • 15. The Drama of Competitive Posing: Portrait Plots in Hals and Rembrandt
  • Notes
  • Index
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