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Is it really so wrong?

Glen Newey: Evil, 23 September 2010

On Evil 
by Terry Eagleton.
Yale, 176 pp., £18.99, May 2010, 978 0 300 15106 0
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A Philosophy of Evil 
by Lars Svendsen, translated by Kerri Pierce.
Dalkey Archive, 306 pp., £10.90, June 2010, 978 1 56478 571 8
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... English has a problem with the morally bad. Terry Eagleton reports his son’s approving reaction when told that his father was writing a book on evil: ‘Wicked!’ Words like ‘wicked’, ‘bad’, ‘nasty’, ‘filthy’, ‘naughty’ have all fallen prey to ironic subversion. The word ‘evil’ is something of an exception: the vestry romps of errant priests and MPs’ abject grubbing for baksheesh fail to do it justice ...

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