For many enlightened, liberal-minded thinkers today, and for most on the political left, evil is an outmoded concept. It smacks too much of absolute judgments and metaphysical certainties to suit the modern age. In this witty, accessible study, the prominent Marxist thinker Terry Eagleton launches a surprising defense of the reality of evil, drawing on literary, theologica...more
Some favorite bits:
"Pure autonomy is a dream of evil. It is also the myth of middle class society...In 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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
There is a great art to a continenta ...more
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 ...more
"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 ...more
This book could do better with a better sequencing of its ideas and arguments. I'm not the best of readers, but when I read, I want to focus my mind in synthesising the ideas ...more
A very well written and argued book exposing the true demeanour of evil: a quest for nothing.
Thought provoking, detailed, rich in imaginative scope and rhetoric, Eagleton has produced an accessible yet challenging account of evil.
An account which from first to last leaves us yearning for the light and the beauty of being.
A life affirming read! Depending upon which ...more
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
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. Professor Eagleton is the man for the job as his intellectual credential ...more
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 ...more
I though that to be pretty ridiculous, I live near a playground and while children screaming drives me nuts, they seem perfectly socialized ...more