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On Ugliness

Umberto Eco

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The arts: general issues, Prose: non-fiction, Philosophy: aesthetics

Sumptuously illustrated and fascinatingly written - a vast store of wisdom on the nature of ugliness by one of our most celebrated contemporary thinkers.

Beauty and ugliness are two sides of the same coin; by ugliness we usually mean the opposite of beauty and we often define the first in order to understand the nature of the second. But the various depictions of ugliness over the centuries are richer and more unpredictable than is commonly thought. The striking images and anthological quotations in On Ugliness lead us on an extraordinary journey through the passions, terrors and nightmares of almost three thousand years, where acts of rejection go hand in hand with touching instances of empathy, and an aversion to deformity is accompanied by seductive violations of all classical canons.
With his characteristic wit and erudition, Umberto Eco draws on examples in art and literature from ancient times to the present day. Abundantly illustrated with demons, madmen, vile enemies and disquieting presences, with freaks and the living dead, On Ugliness is conceived for a vast and diverse readership, and is an invaluable companion volume to On Beauty.

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Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco is Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna and one of the world's most famous, and admired, writers.

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