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On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone

Alex Danchev

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Mixes art, thought, politics and ethics to explore the terrors of the modern age, from Auschwitz to Abu Ghraib

How can works of the imagination help us to understand good and evil in the modern world? In this new collection of essays, Alex Danchev treats the artist as a crucial moral witness of our troubled times, and puts art to work in the service of political and ethical inquiry. He takes inspiration from Seamus Heaney’s dictum: ‘the imaginative transformation of human life is the means by which we can most truly grasp and comprehend it’. This is a book of blasphemers, world menders, troublemakers, torturers and turbulent priests of every persuasion.

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Contents

List of Figures
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Blasphemers and Others
1. ‘Good, but what is Good?’ Ethics after Ikonnikov
2. Our Brothers’ Keeper: Moral Witness
3. Angelus Novus: The Angel of History
4. Infidels and Miscreants: Love and War in Afghanistan
5. Trouble Makers: Laura Poitras and the Problem of Dissent
6. The Silage of History: Anselm Kiefer and the Kieferworld
7. Footfall: The Moral Economy of Reinhard Mucha
8. Tony Blair’s Vietnam: The Iraq War and the Special Relationship
9. Accomplicity: Britain, Torture and Terror
10. Mending the World: Artists’ Manifestos
11. The Hallowed Mentor: Cézanne by Numbers
12. The Vacuity of Evil: Rumsfeld in Washington
Index.

About the Author

Alex Danchev (1955–2016) was Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, and the recipient of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for 2014-17. He was the author of a number of internationally acclaimed biographies, most recently Cézanne (2012), and an influential collection of essays, On Art and War and Terror (2009). He was also the editor of the best-selling 100 Artists’ Manifestos (2011).

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