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The Cultivation of Hatred (Bourgeois Experience) Hardcover – September, 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the Victorian age, bourgeois husbands beat their wives even during pregnancy, and raped or sodomized them, maintains Yale historian Gay. People in the 19th century, he argues, were virtually unanimous in viewing the human animal as innately aggressive, greedy, combative and wicked. The third volume in Gay's study "The Bourgeois Experience" (following The Education of the Senses and The Tender Passion ), this engaging, hugely rewarding survey uses Freudian insights to illuminate the dark, irrational side of 19th-century culture, which in Gay's view underpinned the modern breakdown of civilized constraints on aggression. He shows how Victorian "alibis" for aggression, formulated as religious, political or scientific beliefs, were used to legitimate the activities of colonialists, eugenicists, racists and extreme nationalists. He explores humor as a vehicle for aggression in the writings of Lewis Carroll, Heine, Flaubert and Freud, and he analyzes "the interplay of aggression and libido" as demagogues won mass followings and the middle class asserted its democratic rights. Laced with sharp profiles of George Sand, Bismarck, Sade, Zola, Nietzsche and many others, this study is rich in observations on the struggle for women's rights, the roots of suicide, sports, capital punishment, prison conditions and much else. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This third installment in Gay's (history, Yale) magisterial "Bourgeois Experience" series lives up to expectations. While the earlier installments, The Education of the Senses (OUP, 1984) and The Tender Passion ( LJ 2/15/86), dealt largely with matters of sexuality in the late 19th century (Gay is an eminent Freudian), this one focuses on the aggressive urges and the "alibis" that mask them, whereby violent behaviors, racism, sexism, and so forth are both suppressed and developed. While some of this territory has been mined (cf. Steven Marcus's Other Victorians , LJ 5/15/66) by numerous Dickens scholars, among others, Gay mines it exhaustively. And he writes brilliantly. Excellent biographical sketches (Darwin, Daumier, G. Eliot, et al.) add life and color to the work, as do fascinating historical tangents (e.g., the cultural significance of the advent of pneumatic bicycle tires). Essential for academic libraries; highly recommended to large public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/93.
- Robert E. Brown, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bourgeois Experience
  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (September 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393033988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393033984
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By S. Pactor VINE VOICE on January 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
[...] This five volume history of the victorian bourgeois follows a freudian schematic: the first volume dealt with love, the second with sex, and this volume with agression.

This book was my favorite of the three I've read so far. Gay picks apart the Victorian penchant for cloaked agression with admirable scholastic fortitude. His discussion of Foucault's theory of prisons is a high light for this entire five volume set.

His critique of what he calls the "social control" theorists is that they fail to take into account the ability of the powerful to delude themselves into thinking they are doing the right thing, even when they are most assuredly not.

Why stop here? Only two more volumes to go...
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