Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
Forbidden Knowledge: A Landmark Exploration of the Dark Side of Human Ingenuity and Imagination, by Roger Shattuck. "Shattuck's best achievement to date."- Harold Bloom
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Format: Trade paperback
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Even before Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider made things better with butter in Last Tango in Paris, before Showgirls hit the big screen last year, humanity has been compelled by the forbidden and immoral. Roger Shattuck has written a comprehensive, nuanced expose of this search for the forbidden throughout the history of Western culture, proving that humanity has been perplexed by the perverse and the proscribed since the origins of civilization, puzzling over this trait through religion, literature, and philosophy.
Shattuck develops his thesis by drawing from across the canon, including biblical tales of morality, Milton's Paradise Lost, several versions of Faust, Shelley's Frankenstein, Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dickinson, Melville, Camus, and more. Shattuck's work culminates in a painstaking and searing critique of the works of the Marquis de Sade as the ultimate antithesis of the rules of civilization. A brilliant analysis of the history of Western culture, Shattuck's latest work is a cogent, stimulating read.