By Don Herzog
Want to be crafty? it's possible you'll want you have been extra shrewdpermanent, extra versatile, in a position to lower a couple of corners with out getting stuck, to dive infrequently into iniquity and floor clutching a prize. you want to roll your eyes at these slaves of responsibility who play by means of the foundations. otherwise you may perhaps imagine there is something sleazy approximately that stance, no matter if it does appear to repay. Does that make you a chump?
With pointedly mischievous prose, Don Herzog explores what is captivating and what is revolting in crafty. He attracts on a colourful variety of resources: stories of Odysseus; texts from Machiavelli; pamphlets from early sleek England; salesmen's newsletters; Christian apologetics; performs; sermons; philosophical treatises; detective novels; recognized, notorious, and imprecise historic situations; and more.
The publication is in 3 components, bookended by way of murderous churchmen. "Dilemmas" explores a few canonical moments of crafty and introduces the excellence among knaves and fools as a "time-honored yet extensively poor scheme." "Appearances" assails traditional methods to unmasking. Surveying lack of knowledge and self-deception, "Despair?" deepens the case that we should be cunning--and then sees what we would say in response.
all through this beguiling booklet, Herzog refines our experience of what is troubling during this terrain. He indicates that rationality, social roles, and morality are tangled together--and trickier than we thought.
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Extra resources for Cunning
Asks the archer. “All is disgust when one leaves his own nature / and does things that misﬁt it,” responds Neoptolemus. Torn between the “terrible compassion” he feels for Philoctetes, the ties of justice and interest that he says militate in favor of following his orders, and the nausea cascading over him at his own deceptive performance, Neoptolemus has to witness a bullying tirade from a newly returned Odysseus, who insists that Philoctetes must indeed sail for Troy. Odysseus and Neoptolemus, still clutching the bow, relinquish the stage for a miserable colloquy between Philoctetes and Neoptolemus’s sailors.
But he can’t be both. To be a devoted husband is in part not to play sexual athlete with other women. It makes no difference that he’s far from home, no difference whether Penelope eventually ﬁnds out. So there’s something suspect or incoherent in being whatever the occasion demands. Meeting the demands of some occasions will preclude meeting those of others. Can’t Odysseus still give Penelope the impression that he’s a devoted husband? He’ll keep some facts dark. She’ll learn that inquiries into his ten years’ voyage distress him, so she’ll discreetly avoid the topic.
Machiavelli makes fortune vividly female again. Not any old female, either, but a particular, peculiar, one, an obnoxious dominatrix to wrestle with. In a poem, he expanded on the compressed references of The Prince with some acidulous harridan imagery. On high, rewarding the unjust, punishing the just, ever capricious, leaving no one at the top or bottom of her wheel (even wheels) for long, well pleased by those who shove her around: this capricious, even bitchy, Fortune, an “aged witch,” rewards men only to prepare their punishments.