With characteristic wit, Harry Berger, Jr., brings his flair for close reading to texts and images across two millennia that illustrate what he calls GCGBPstructural misanthropology.GC Beginning with a novel reading of Plato, Berger emphasizes SocratesGCOs 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 apprehensionGCoboth the desire to take and the fear of being taken. In addition to suggesting new political and philosophical dimensions to Platonic thought, BergerGs attention to rhetorical practice offers novel ways of parsing the dialogic method itself. In the bookGs 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 MachiavelliGs constitutional prostheses, ShakespeareGs pageants of humiliation, or the elbow jabs of Dutch portraiture.
Perils of Uglytown
Fordham University Press
Studies in Structural Misanthropology from Plato to Rembrandt