Examining the meaning of moral responsibility in literature and in our everyday lives, Shattuck also suggests that we live in a violated world that dismisses taboos and fails to heed the wisdom of that which is sacred. Forbidden Knowledge is a scintillating work that does nothing less than trace the tragic arc of Western literatue and culture, ...Read MoreExamining the meaning of moral responsibility in literature and in our everyday lives, Shattuck also suggests that we live in a violated world that dismisses taboos and fails to heed the wisdom of that which is sacred. Forbidden Knowledge is a scintillating work that does nothing less than trace the tragic arc of Western literatue and culture, exploring the notion of forbidden knowledge from the sexual innocence of Adam and Eve to the sexual excesses of the Marquis de Sade and beyond.Read Less
NewNew Softcover print. Book is from Bookstore Inventory and might have Slight shelfwear, Page edge Dinginess from being shelved or a Remainder mark. Book has been Bookstore Displayed: 3.1.12. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 384 p. Audience: General/trade.
Publishers Weekly, 1996-08-05 In this scholarly, provocative and gracefully written study, Shattuckæa distinguished critic (The Banqueting Years) and translator (of Apollinaire)æargues that there are moral taboos (even if they are sometimes unclearly defined) that we dare violate at our peril, that there are indeed limitsæboth philosophical and physicalæto what humankind is meant to know and experience and that from the very beginnings of civilization, a central theme in our thought and literature has been the struggle to understand what those limits are. The book begins in theory and moves to more concrete examples of "forbidden knowledge," from discussions of myths (Prometheus, Orpheus, Adam and Eve), through the Victorians' perplexity over Darwin, to an examination of works of literature (Faust, Paradise Lost, Billy Budd, Frankenstein, Emily Dickinson's poetry, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Stranger) that indicate a fascination or concern with those limits. The second half of this study focuses on what Shattuck calls case histories of what can happen when those limits are pushed and include discussions of the Manhattan Project, DNA research, genetic engineering, serial killers (Ted Bundy; the so-called Moors Murderer) and finallyæand at great lengthæthe Marquis de Sade. The book might seem but a thoughtful warning about the destructive power of de Sade and what Shattuck considers sadistic pornography, but a concluding essay makes it clear that his subject is really the history of human curiosity and of the glories and dangers inherent in trying to learn more than one is prepared for. First serial to the New York Times Book Review; Reader's Subscription Book Club main selection; BOMC and History Book Club alternates. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly, 1997-08-25 The moral and philosophical limits to human knowledgeæand their inherent dangers and fascinationsæare probed. (Sept.)
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