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On murder considered as one of the fine arts…
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On murder considered as one of the fine arts (1827)

by Thomas De Quincey

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» See also 5 mentions

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Showing 4 of 4
I liked the premise of the lecture but would have preferred the Latin be translated differently. ( )
  SadieRuin | Oct 5, 2017 |
Satirical essay on murder as a form of art. Although the idea is great the archaic language makes it relatively hard to enjoy it. My main issue is that I haven't found it funny at all, and it's not a good thing for a supposedly satirical writing. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Nov 21, 2016 |
Thomas de Quincey became enthralled and haunted by the murderer John Williams in 1811 and, although his works have always had the macabre about them, this essay looks at murder in particular in a more literary and scholarly way: imbuing it with the same aesthetic pleasures one might gain from other forms of art, such as writing or paintings. It is part-fictional but wholly satirical, commenting on the public horror-cum-delight in murders and the proliferate want of Philosophers to get themselves assassinated.

A wonderful book that really portrays the mind-set of those writing in the 19th Century. One is reminded of rich, languid personalities of the time; those who had money to spare on betting on which trickle of condensation may reach the window pane first, and those who viewed murder as nothing but a fanciful notion that may warrant a conversation. It is written in the manner and style as one would expect of a pre-Victorian writer; similar in tone yet without the consumerist pallour of a late-19th Century tale. ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
“Pleasant it is, no doubt, to drink tea with your sweetheart, but most disagreeable to find her bubbling in the tea-urn.” So wrote the essayist Thomas de Quincey in 1827, and, really, it is hard to argue with him. Even more pleasant, he went on, was to read about someone else’s sweetheart bubbling in the tea-urn. The world adores murder in the abstract. Without it, we’d have no Hamlet. No Tony Soprano. De Quincey created the model for the gentleman-murderer. It was de Quincey, as well, who understood that violent crime plus art equaled a puzzle, a problem, a solution—a how, a who and a why: the core of all crime fiction. To this formula he added charm and humor. As the narrator of “On Murder” warns: “If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.” ( )
  Judith.Flanders | Apr 28, 2014 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas De Quinceyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manganelli, GiorgioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192805665, Paperback)

The titular essay in this volume of work by Thomas De Quincey centers on the notorious career of the murderer John Williams, who in 1811 brutally killed seven people in London's East End. De Quincey's response to Williams's attacks turns morality on its head, celebrating and coolly dissecting the art of murder and its perfections. This volume also contains De Quincey's best-known piece of literary criticism, "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth," and his finest tale of terror, "The Avenger," a disturbing exploration of violence, vigilantism, and religious persecution. Ranging from gruesomely vivid reportage and brilliantly funny satiric high jinks to penetrating literary and aesthetic criticism, these essays had a remarkable impact on crime, terror, and detective fiction. They are also a key contribution to the satiric tradition, as well as on the rise of nineteenth-century decadence. The bibliography is the most extensive available on critical responses to De Quincey's essays on murder and violence, and the essays included here have never been annotated so thoroughly before. They reveal--often for the first time--De Quincey's debts, remarkable erudition, and encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary crime.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:30 -0400)

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