The Anatomy of Disgust

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9780674031555: The Anatomy of Disgust

William Miller embarks on an alluring journey into the world of disgust, showing how it brings order and meaning to our lives even as it horrifies and revolts us. Our notion of the self, intimately dependent as it is on our response to the excretions and secretions of our bodies, depends on it. Cultural identities have frequent recourse to its boundary-policing powers. Love depends on overcoming it, while the pleasure of sex comes in large measure from the titillating violation of disgust prohibitions. Imagine aesthetics without disgust for tastelessness and vulgarity; imagine morality without disgust for evil, hypocrisy, stupidity, and cruelty.

Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes: eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. The high's belief that the low actually smell bad, or are sources of pollution, seriously threatens democracy.

Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical, and exciting place.

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Review:

The title of William Ian Miller's book is a play on Robert Burton's 17th-century classic The Anatomy of Melancholy, an examination of human emotion. In his modern Anatomy, Miller narrows the focus to the function of disgust in human life. Disgust, Miller posits, is a kind of protection; just as fear causes us to flee danger or loyalty prompts us to support one another, disgust draws boundaries and insulates the individual from outside incursions--anything from the unhygienic hair in our soup to the frightening explosion of homelessness in our cities. Among his theories is one that democracy depends on the even distribution of disgust across class lines.

Mr. Miller is not afraid to explore the darker side of disgust as well--the fact that we may feel it in conjunction with contempt toward people, objects, or concepts that do not warrant it. Nevertheless, disgust serves an important role in humanity's complex emotional and social makeup, and The Anatomy of Disgust is novel in its approach to uncovering just what that role might be.

From the Back Cover:

William Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes; eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical and exciting place.

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Miller, William Ian
Editorial: Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge (1997)
ISBN 10: 0674031555 ISBN 13: 9780674031555
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Descripción Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. 320pp. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾". Nº de ref. de la librería 077435

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William Ian Miller
Editorial: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0674031555 ISBN 13: 9780674031555
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Descripción HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes; eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical and exciting place. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780674031555

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William Ian Miller
Editorial: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (1998)
ISBN 10: 0674031555 ISBN 13: 9780674031555
Nuevos Paperback Cantidad: 1
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The Book Depository US
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Descripción HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes; eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical and exciting place. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780674031555

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William Ian Miller
Editorial: Harvard University Press 1998-09-30 (1998)
ISBN 10: 0674031555 ISBN 13: 9780674031555
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Descripción Harvard University Press 1998-09-30, 1998. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería NU-GRD-05254596

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Miller, William Ian
Editorial: Harvard Univ Press
ISBN 10: 0674031555 ISBN 13: 9780674031555
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Descripción Harvard Univ Press. Estado de conservación: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Softcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Nº de ref. de la librería 2364285

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Descripción 1998. PAP. Estado de conservación: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Nº de ref. de la librería TH-9780674031555

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Descripción Harvard University Press 1998-09-30, Cambridge, Mass. |London, 1998. paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780674031555

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William Ian Miller
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Descripción Harvard University Press. Paperback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, The Anatomy of Disgust, William Ian Miller, William Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes; eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical and exciting place. Nº de ref. de la librería B9780674031555

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