The Book Of Vices   Robert J. Hutchinson

The Book Of Vices Robert J. Hutchinson

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Bringing together in one volume some of the funniest tributes to human weakness and temptation ever written, The Book of Vices presents such tantalizing celebrations of vice as Rabelais's "In Praise of Debtors," Margaret Cresswell's "The Jolly Glutton," Sigmund Freud's meditation on penis envy, Benjamin Franklin's "Letter on Selecting a Mistress," and Robert Louis Stevenson's "An Apology for Idlers." Ranging across the centuries, it includes the bawdy tales of Apuleius, Boccaccio, and William Wycherly, as well as tempting selections from such modern writers as Ogden Nash, John Updike, Fran Lebowitz, Tom Wolfe, and Lisa Alther. In the introductions that accompany each chapter, editor Robert J. Hutchinson insists, with Samuel Butler, that the vices are not wholly evil but "require moderate use rather than total abstinence." "The vices help make virtues just as the poisons help make medicines," wrote Francois de La Rochefoucauld, voicing a sentiment shared by writers from Aristotle to G. K. Chesterton. Poking good-natured fun at the new "politics of virtue," The Book of Vices encourages us to acknowledge our human foibles and argues convincingly for the value of vice in our literary tradition and in our lives.