On Ugliness by Umberto Eco

Into the Wild

On Ugliness Read Online Free - In the mold of his acclaimed History of Beauty, renowned cultural critic Umberto Eco’s On Ugliness is an exploration of the monstrous and the repellant in visual culture and the arts. What is the voyeuristic impulse behind our attraction to the gruesome and the horrible? Where does the magnetic appeal of the sordid and the scandalous come from? Is ugliness also in the eye of the beholder? Eco’s encyclopedic knowledge and captivating storytelling skills combine in this ingenious study of the Ugly, revealing that what we often shield ourselves from and shun in everyday life is what we’re most attracted to subliminally. Topics range from Milton’s Satan to Goethe’s Mephistopheles; from witchcraft and medieval torture tactics to martyrs, hermits, and penitents; from lunar births and disemboweled corpses to mythic monsters and sideshow freaks; and from Decadentism and picturesque ugliness to the tacky, kitsch, and camp, and the aesthetics of excess and vice. With abundant examples of painting and sculpture ranging from ancient Greek amphorae to Bosch, Brueghel, and Goya among others, and with quotations from the most celebrated writers and philosophers of each age, this provocative discussion explores in-depth the concepts of evil, depravity, and darkness in art and literature.

Title : On Ugliness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0847829863
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 456 pages


Glenn rated it ★★★★★

April 08, 2017

Umberto Eco begins On Ugliness with the observation that there is an entire history of beauty but such a history did not happen with ugliness. Why is this? Perhaps, the author reasons, since ugliness was frequently defined throughout the ages as the opposite of beauty. Well, if there ever was a bo...

Esteban rated it ★★★★☆

June 01, 2012

"In everyday life we are surrounded by horrifying sights. We see images of children dying of hunger, reduced to skeletons with swollen bellies; we see countries where women are raped by invading troops, and others where people are tortured, just as we are continually exposed to images from the no...

The Literary rated it ★★★★★

November 26, 2017

Praises are sung in honor of beauty, lives have lost for it, wars have been waged for it (thanks, Helen, ya strumpet) so why are we fascinated by ugliness? Umberto Eco presents a historical compendium of ugliness and horror throughout time. Ugliness in the Classical World, The Apocalypse, Hell an...

Stela rated it ★★★★☆

November 07, 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, beauty is about contemplation, is about disinterested emotion. Ugliness, on the other hand, is not only about seeing, but also about feeling – strong feelings, like repulsion, disgust, horror and fear. On this distinction made by Karl Rosenkra...

Chris rated it ★★★★☆

July 14, 2009

This is an amazing work that exhaustively catalogues the artistic and social concept of ugliness throughout history. While the book focuses on the perception of ugliness in many societies and time periods, the bulk of it deals primarily with western European societies since Roman times. Eco has u...

Tom rated it ★★★★☆

August 12, 2008

I have to admit that I have not read this cover to cover. This is a great book to just pick up, open to a random page and read a little bit at a time. This and Eco's History of Beauty are just beautifully produced books. If you appreciate art and/or the musings of Eco, then your library is incomp...

Mariela rated it ★★★☆☆

March 15, 2017

It is a wonderful *introduction* to the topic of ugliness. Eco discusses about a certain author and the a fragment of the text or the image is presented in the next pages, this allows a more immersive reading. Highly recommended as an introductory book.

Shannon rated it ★★★☆☆

November 30, 2011

Different people will enjoy or dislike this book for different reasons. I'm just going to note my own observations about the book because I honestly don't know if I would go crazy recommending it to everyone. Be aware that there is, what I feel to be, an assumed knowledge of Classics and Philosoph...

Xysea rated it ★★★★☆

July 06, 2008

An intriguing read, with lots of pictures, this book is a chronicle of the opposite of attractiveness and in what way it's been applied through the arts and culture to imply certain things - whether they be about ethnicity, character or intelligence. (As a side note, my copy was extremely heavy! M...

محمد rated it ★★★★★

November 19, 2012

You can still find untouched beauty in here. This tells much. In recognizing ugliness we find what beauty is.

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