Product detail

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away

Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away

Author: Eric G. Wilson
$19.95 (AUD)  inc GST
Available Stock: 0
Description

Whether we admit it or not, we're fascinated by evil. Dark fantasies, morbid curiosities, Schadenfreude: as conventional wisdom has it, these are the symptoms of our wicked side, and we succumb to them at our own peril. But we're still compelled to look whenever we pass a grisly accident on the highway, and there's no slaking our thirst for gory entertainments like horror movies and police procedurals. What makes these spectacles so irresistible? In "Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck", the scholar Eric G. Wilson sets out to discover the source of our attraction to the gruesome, drawing on the findings of biologists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, and artists. A professor of English literature and a lifelong student of the macabre, Wilson believes there's something nourishing in darkness. "To repress death is to lose the feeling of life," he writes. "A closeness to death discloses our most fertile energies." His examples are legion and startling in their diversity. Citing everything from elephant graveyards and Susan Sontag's "On Photography" to the Tiger Woods sex scandal and Steel Magnolias, Wilson finds heartening truths wherever he confronts death. In "Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck", the perverse is never far from the sublime. The result is a powerful and delightfully provocative defence of what it means to be human - for better and for worse.

Reviews
"Eric G. Wilson's smart, probing new book . . . sets out to explain what lies beneath our collective fascination with death and suffering . . . "Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck "isn't some holier-than-thou polemic out to cure us of our dark leanings . . . Instead, it simply aims to help readers gain 'a fulfilling response to two of life's greatest, most pressing and persistent questions. What is the meaning of suffering? What is the significance of death? . . . The book's slim, peripatetic chapters cover an awful lot of erudite territory, as Wilson draws ideas and research from a delightful grab bag of academics, artists and thinkers. Aristotle, Freud, Kant, Goya and Hardy all make appearances, alongside an assortment of sociopaths and serial murderers." --John Wilwol, "NPR.org" "Wilson is provocative, entertaining and above all honest." --Chris Tucker, "The Dallas Morning News
" "A leisurely, light-footed overview of our cultural obsession with doom, gloom, and gore." --Josh Rothman, "The Boston Globe "Compelling . . . Wilson keeps hearing a voice within that tells him to 'look.' He follows this instinct, energized by the idea that his thoughtful connoisseurship of the world's darkness is good--noble, even. Wilson draws on philosophers, poets, psychologists, filmmakers and more to build a case that 'an eager, open-minded interest in the macabre' provides 'a special invitation to think about life's meanings' . . . Wilson's guidance is personal, engaging, and convincing . . . The book offers heaps of terribly tantalizing topics." --Chris Jozefowicz, "Rue Morgue" "Mixing anecdotes, arguments and his own quirky persona, the author of "Against Happiness "delivers a provocative meditation on morbid curiosity and the pleasure of seeing others suffer." --"The Times-Picayune "(New Orleans)" "Wilson explores [his theme] with zeal and a great deal of wit.
Stock Information

General Fields

  • : 9780374533700
  • : Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
  • : Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
  • : December 2012
  • : 194mm X 130mm
  • : May 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 224
  • : Eric G. Wilson