On Ugliness

On Ugliness

Hardback (25 Oct 2007) | English

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Synopsis

This book is the follow up to the previous volume On Beauty. Apparently beauty and ugliness are concepts that imply each other, and by ugliness we usually mean the opposite of beauty, so all we need do is define the first to understand the nature of the second. But the various manifestations of ugliness over the centuries are richer and more unpredictable than is commonly thought.

The anthological quotations and the extraordinary illustrations in this book lead us on a surprising journey among the nightmares, terrors, and loves of almost three thousand years, where acts of rejection go hand in hand with touching gestures of compassion, and the rejection of deformity is accompanied by decadent ecstasies over the most seductive violations of all classical canons.

Among demons, madmen, horrible enemies, and disquieting presences, among horrid abysses and deformities that verge on the sublime, among freaks and the living dead, we discover a vast and often unsuspected iconographic vein. So much so that, on gradually encountering in these pages the ugliness of nature, spiritual ugliness, asymmetry, disharmony, disfigurement, and the succession of things sordid, weak, vile, banal, random, arbitrary, coarse, repugnant, clumsy, horrendous, vacuous, nauseating, criminal, spectral, witchlike, satanic, repellent, disgusting, unpleasant, grotesque, abominable, odious, crude, foul, dirty, obscene, frightening, abject, monstrous, hair-raising, ugly, terrible, terrifying, revolting, repulsive, loathsome, fetid, ignoble, awkward, ghastly and indecent, the first foreign publisher to see this book exclaimed: 'How beautiful ugliness is!'

About the Publisher

Harvill Secker

Harvill Secker

Harvill Secker is a firm with a long and illustrious history. Originally, Harvill and Secker were two separate companies, both with a particular interest in publishing international literature. The two imprints were formally joined together in 2005 but Harvill Secker's first incarnation, Martin Secker Ltd, was founded in 1910. Both as separate firms, and together as Harvill Secker, the house has enjoyed the contribution of many talented and committed authors, editors and other supporters over the years. It has been lucky enough to publish twenty Nobel Prize-winners, four Booker Prize-winners and to survive many changes of name and address, a variety of owners and mergers, a famous fake, an author who claimed his overdue manuscript had been eaten by a crocodile, the Blitz, a direct hit on a warehouse, a handful of libel actions, bankruptcies and a trial that rewrote obscenity laws.

Book information

ISBN: 9781846551222
Publisher: Random House
Imprint: Harvill Secker
Pub date:
DEWEY: 111.85
DEWEY edition: 22
Language: English
Number of pages: 455
Weight: 1416g
Height: 241mm
Width: 178mm
Spine width: 21mm