Synopses & Reviews
Malice that cannot speak its name, cold-blooded but secret hostility, impotent desire, hidden rancor and spite all cluster at the center of envy. Envy clouds thought, writes Joseph Epstein, clobbers generosity, precludes any hope of serenity, and ends in shriveling the heart. Of the seven deadly sins, he concludes, only envy is no fun at all.
Writing in a conversational, erudite, self-deprecating style that wears its learning lightly, Epstein takes us on a stimulating tour of the many faces of envy. He considers what great thinkers such as John Rawls, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche have written about envy; distinguishes between envy, yearning, jealousy, resentment, and schadenfreude ("a hardy perennial in the weedy garden of sour emotions"); and catalogs the many things that are enviable, including wealth, beauty, power, talent, knowledge and wisdom, extraordinary good luck, and youth (or as the title of Epstein's chapter on youth has it, "The Young, God Damn Them"). He looks at resentment in academia, where envy is mixed with snobbery, stirred by impotence, and played out against a background of cosmic injustice; and he offers a brilliant reading of Othello as a play more driven by Iago's envy than Othello's jealousy. He reveals that envy has a strong touch of malice behind it the envious want to destroy the happiness of others. He suggests that envy of the astonishing success of Jews in Germany and Austria may have lurked behind the virulent anti-Semitism of the Nazis.
As he proved in his best-selling Snobbery, Joseph Epstein has an unmatched ability to highlight our failings in a way that is thoughtful, provocative, and entertaining. If envy is no fun, Epstein's Envy is truly a joy to read.
"[U]nder Epstein's guidance, this sin is pretty entertaining to contemplate in all its fine permutations....Strangely comforting in its reassurance that the reader is not alone in being a petty SOB." Kirkus Reviews
"Not unexpectedly, the writing is superb and memorable, with eminently quotable quotes to serve as daily reminders not to be envious....Epstein argues convincingly that the 'real wages of sin' for envy are not paying attention to our own abilities..." Library Journal
"Envy is insubstantial and unambitious even for its modest size....[Epstein] does not seem to have anything very provocative to say about it....[The book] reads more like an example of the eighth deadly sin: smugness." Publishers Weekly
Includes bibliographical references (p. -102) and index.
About the Author
is the author of eighteen books, including Snobbery: The American Version
, which was a New York Times
Best Seller and Notable Book for 2002. His most recent books are Friendship, An Expose
and Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy is Genius
. He has also written roughly four hundred essays, stories, reviews, and articles in such publications as The New Yorker, Harper's, TLS, New Republic, Commentary, New York Review of Books, New York Times Magazine
, and others. He was the editor of The American Scholar
for over twenty years and has taught at Northwestern University.
Table of Contents
2. Particles and fabrics of soil and weak sediments
3. Stress, strain, and rheology of materials
4. Strength of earth materials
5. Properties of rock masses
6. Properties of soils
7. Weathering processes
8. Landforms from weathering, soils, and duricrusts
9. Hillslope stratigraphy and form
10. Water in soils and hillslope hydrology
11. Erosion of hillslopes by raindrops and flowing water
12. Mass wasting of soils
13. Flow failures on hillslopes
14. Rock slope processes
15. Models and hillslope development
16. Landslide hazards: avoidance and protection
17. Magnitudes and frequencies of erosional events
18. Rates of denudation and their implications