Praises are sung in honor of beauty, lives have lost for it, wars have been waged for it (thanks, Helen, ya strumpet) so why are we fascinated by ugliness? Umberto Eco presents a historical compendium of ugliness and horror throughout time. Ugliness in the Classical World, The Apocalypse, Hell and the Devil, The Ugliness of Woman, Witchcraft, Satanism, Sadism, The Avant-Guarde and the Triumph of Ugliness – all chapters in this lavishly illustrated (dare I say ‘beautiful’?) book from Rizzoli. Paintings (Bosch, David, Goya, Strozzi, Dore, da Vinci) stories (Rabelais, Poe, Conrad, Rosenkrantz, Ovid, Stoker), poetry (Tennyson, Baudelaire, Shakespeare, Pulci, Hugo), it’s all here. You can enter this compendium with little to no prior knowledge and emerge with a panoramic understanding of mankind’s fascination with darkness.
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