The Perils of Uglytown: Studies in Structural Misanthropology from Plato to Rembrandt.pdf
In The Perils of Uglytown, Harry Berger, Jr., considers a variety of texts and images ranging from those of Thucydides and Plato to those of Shakespeare and Rembrandt. The Introduction explains the key concept of the study, structural misanthropology, a variant on Claude Levi-Strauss's idea of structural anthropology. Part I explores its activity in several Platonic dialogues: Lysis, Crito, Phaedo, The Republic, and Timaeus. Part II turns to the Renaissance in Italy, England, and the Netherlands. Structural misanthropology is discussed first in the work of several Italian humanists (Alberti, Leonardo, Castiglione, and Vasari), then in English drama (Gorbuduc and several plays by Shakespeare), and finally in group portraits by Hals and Rembrandt. The Perils of Uglytown applies and brings up to date the methods of interpretation Berger has developed during the past half-century in his many studies of literature, drama, philosophy, social and cultural studies, and the visual arts.
"The Perils of Uglytown is a distillation of Harry Berger, Jr.'s intensive study of The Republic and other Platonic dialogues over several decades and makes an important contribution to understanding these texts and to the literary interpretation of the dialogues generally. Its highly original, provocative, and stimulating close reading of well-chosen passages is grounded in Berger's understanding of the textuality of the Platonic dialogues." Seth L. Schein, University of California, Davis "Somewhere in his innermost closet Harry Berger, Jr., must harbor the secret of perennial freshness. For decades now his vitally important work has conferred the power to see with new eyes familiar works of literature, philosophy, and art, as if their innermost meanings were being glimpsed for the first time." Dr. Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University
Harry Berger, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Literature and Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz.