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Overview

Holy Terror is a profound and timely investigation of the idea of terror, drawing upon political, philosophical, literary, and theological sources to trace a genealogy from the ancient world to the modern day.

Rather than add to the mounting pile of political studies of terrorism, Terry Eagleton offers here a metaphysics of terror with a serious historical perspective. Writing with remarkable clarity and persuasive insight he examines a ...
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Holy Terror

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Overview

Holy Terror is a profound and timely investigation of the idea of terror, drawing upon political, philosophical, literary, and theological sources to trace a genealogy from the ancient world to the modern day.

Rather than add to the mounting pile of political studies of terrorism, Terry Eagleton offers here a metaphysics of terror with a serious historical perspective. Writing with remarkable clarity and persuasive insight he examines a concept whose cultural impact predates 9/11 by millennia. From its earliest manifestations in rite and ritual, through the French Revolution to the 'War on Terror' of today, terror has been regarded with both horror and fascination. Eagleton examines the duality of
the sacred (both life-giving and death-dealing) and relates it, via current and past ideas of freedom, to the idea of terror itself.

Stretching from the cult of Dionysus to the thought of Jacques Lacan, the book takes in en route ideas of God, freedom, the sublime, and the unconscious. It also examines the problem of evil, and devotes a concluding chapter to the idea of tragic sacrifice and the scapegoat.

Written by one of the world's foremost cultural critics, Holy Terror is a provocative and ambitious examination of one of the most urgent issues of our time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With the knowledge of a library's worth of theology and literature in his back pocket, leading literary critic Eagleton (After Theory) sets out to trace the "genealogy" of terrorism by describing its role in societies throughout history. Composed of six brief, brilliant, dense chapters, the book draws on a vast assortment of myths, fictions and religious texts, contending that the critic can begin to comprehend the mind of the terrorist through an examination of Dionysus or Lear or Faust. Like the work of Umberto Eco, the book is learned, ironic and complex enough for numerous rereadings, particularly if the reader wants to form the kind of counterarguments the book implicitly demands. Indeed, its provocative circumspection may leave both liberals and conservatives sputtering. Though too dense and allusive for a general audience, Eagleton's "metaphysical" and aesthetic approach to the crisis of terror provides the kind of philosophical context to current events that will satisfy fans of Derrida, Lacan and Eagleton himself. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A book that lays bare the subject of terror, tracing its lineage from the ancient to the modern, prophesying future developments, and written by one of the world's foremost critics and writers, holds out the promise of greatness. With exquisite language, Eagleton (cultural theory, Univ. of Manchester, England; The Idea of the Tragic) succeeds at making plain the political, philosophical, religious, and literary sources of this ever-present phenomenon while drawing together an eclectic number of sources that illuminate our further readings on the subject. Moreover, the signal discussion of varied themes, from manicheism to the War on Terror and embracing figures as seemingly disparate as Ahab (and Moby-Dick) and Faust (and Mephistopheles) portends major critical advances and provides profound guidance that may be overlooked only to our collective peril. In particular, the author's skillful discussion of fundamental notions of justice as inspired and transformed over time is nothing short of sublime. This is neither a simple book to read nor a pleasant one, but it is inspiring and will elevate our too-often unprincipled discussion of the subject of terror and evil. This slim and elegant volume must be found in all larger public libraries.-Gilles Renaud, Ontario Court of Justice Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191516023
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/8/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 207 KB

Meet the Author

Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester. His literary criticism includes Literary Theory: An Introduction, Heathcliff and the Great Hunger, and After Theory. He has also written a novel, Saints and Scholars, several plays and a memoir, The Gatekeeper. He divides his time between Manchester, Dublin and Derry.

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Table of Contents

1. Invitation to an Orgy

2. States of Sublimity

3. Fear and Freedom

4. Saints and Suicides

5. The Living Dead

6. Scapegoats

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