The Oxford Book of VillainsBook - 1992
Villains have been celebrated in song and drama, poem and fiction since the Bible first recorded the exploits of Adam's descendants. John Mortimer is ideally placed, as an author and QC, to compile an anthology of the most infamous representatives, real and imagined, of the criminal world. Whether or not the Devil has all the best tunes, Milton's Satan has some very good lines, good enough, according to Marlowe and Goethe, to persuade a man to sell his soul. Not all villains are as anguished as Faust, however; Sherlock Holmes's arch-enemy Moriarty suffers no qualms of conscience inhis determination to destroy the sleuth, and Iago, to name but one of Shakespeare's villains, shows no remorse against Othello. The reputation of some real-life villains is so great that they too have acquired legendary status: Dr Crippen, Lizzie Borden, and Al Capone are among the murderersremembered here. Criminality takes many forms, from pickpocket and highwayman to pirate and con man. Here Jonathan Wild rubs shoulders with Mac the Knife, Captain Kidd with Captain Hook. Casanova, Don Juan, and Richardson's Lovelace have all mastered the pitiless art of seduction, while other villains betray theircountries. Tyranny shows itself a brutal regime in the hands of Caligula and Nero, and more subtly oppressive within the family and schoolroom. Attractive scoundrels and incompetent rogues, calculating murderers and unscrupulous swindlers pack these pages with a richness and variety that will by turns delight, surprise, and chill the reader.
Publisher: Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1992
Branch Call Number: REF 808.8
Characteristics: xii, 431 p. ; 25 cm