Download Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero by Michael André Bernstein PDF

By Michael André Bernstein

While a true assassin accuses the society he has brutalized, we're surprised, yet we're extremely joyful through an identical accusations after they are mouthed via a fictional insurgent, outlaw or monster. In "Bitter Carnival", Michael Andre Bernstein explores this contradiction and defines a brand new determine: the abject hero. status on the junction of contestation and conformity, the abject hero occupies the logically most unlikely area created through the intersection of the satanic and the servile. Bernstein exhibits that we heroicize the abject hero simply because he represents a tradition that has develop into a staple of our universal mythology, as seductive in mass tradition because it is in excessive paintings. relocating from an exam of classical Latin satire, via analyses of Diderot, Dostoevsky and Celine, and culminating within the court docket testimony of Charles Manson, "Bitter Carnival" deals a revisionist rereading of the whole culture of the "Saturnalian discussion" among masters and slaves, monarchs and fools, philosophers and madmen, electorate and malcontents. It contests the supposedly regenerative strength of the carnivalesque and demanding situations the pieties of utopian radicalism trendy in modern educational considering.

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38 After a brief transition (21–22), in which Horace virtually compels Davus to explain the point of all these examples, the slave begins to take direct aim at the poet himself: “ad te, inquam” (22). In rapid succession, Horace stands accused of wavering in his proclaimed values, of being divided in his desires, of a readiness to change his mind under circumstances that suggest rank opportunism, of hypocrisy in his self-description, and finally, of being even a greater fool (“stultior”) than is Davus himself (23– 45).

What he saw was a ruin of the world he loved and the death of freedom. His vision was the more bitter because . . he had almost learned to hope . . that his culture would not collapse and his freedom would not die. . The desolation of outward freedom ultimately forced him to search out the inner freedom of the heart that each man has if he wills to find it. 28 But even so acute a reader as Johnson is misleading when he speaks of “the inner freedom of the heart that each man has if he wills to find it,” since it is precisely this liberty that Horace is also compelled to cast into doubt, or, perhaps more accurately, on whose possession Horace keeps overinsisting, as a barrier against the suspicion that in Augustan Rome private freedom, too, has become only a particularly alluring form of selfdeception.

There are two ways to define a slave: one legal and the other moral-philosophical, and Davus, following the convention of the genre, spends most of his lines demonstrating that his master is conspicuously lacking in true inner freedom. But more unusually—and far more riskily—Davus further hints, without ever quite stating, that Horace, like all dependents on Maecenas, the chief distributor of Augustan patronage, had far less effective legal and political autonomy than his habitual rhetoric was at such pains to assert.

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