With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy

Florence King, Author
Florence King, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-312-07124-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-312-09414-0
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4668-1621-3
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Misanthropy, as defined here: ``If ever you meet someone who cannot understand why solitary confinement is considered punishment, you have met a misanthrope.'' Sounding a war cry, King ( Lump It or Leave It ) slings as many Molotov cocktails at her brethren as she does at the enemy, occasionally leaving the reader hard put to distinguish the good misanthrope: former president Nixon was wrongly perceived as a hypocrite, although he was actually only trying to hide his misanthropy, argues the author; misanthropes Ty Cobb, Irving Berlin and James Gould Cozzens, on the other hand, are dismissed as merely boring. Such distinctions are crucial to King, who considers misanthropes with ``naked intellect'' like Flaubert society's true friends because they hold us to the highest standards, while ``tender misanthropes,'' like Rousseau with his sensibilite and, in our own day, Oprah, Donahue and Geraldo, encourage us to discount dignity and character. Also bristling this snarling misanthrope's fur are affirmative action--``favoritism for blacks''--and feminism. Citizens of King's designated ``Republic of Nice'' and probably even those in the ``Republic of Mean'' are likely to return their own anger to this diatribe, while the stateless will dismiss King's posturing as dyspepsia manifest. (Mar.)
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