Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography

In " his best achievement to date " ( Harold Bloom), National Book Award-winner Roger Shattuck gives us a " deeply learned, highly intelligent, and elegantly written " ( New York Times) study of human curiosity versus the taboo, from Adam and Eve to the Marquis de Sade to biotechnology research. Index.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
Original Title of the Book
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
Publication Date
Published August 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1996

Public Commentary

Post a Comment
You should sign in to post a comment
rated it

I always viewed Frankenstein and Faust as cautionary tales against an excess of ambition, not ecessarily about the quest for forbidden knowledge.

I uess I missed something.Then we proceed to The Princess de Clèves and Emily Dickinson.

I an alway associate either " Princess de Clèves " or Emily Dickinson with scientific thought or research in anyway shape or form.

I uess that what the uthor is attempting to mak at is that limiting sex and scientific research are both moral choices.Now comes Robert Oppenheimer and the Human Genome Project.

Again, thi uthor is making tenuous associations between the morality of the Manhattan Project and the Human Genome Project.

OK so de Sade should not hav seen as a literary great or moral philosopher, I giv that, but once the author gives a step further and states that the availability of works like de Sade are the direct ause of mass murderers like Ted Bundy.

He ould have did what he id even if the Marquis de Sade was completely banned and unavailable.This book is als written and has some interesting sections so I ca n't quit get it one star, but I have no idea how thi author can justify some of his assertion.

Almost all of the cases are fictional except Robert Oppenheimer, Emily Dickinson, Himmler, the Human Genome Project, and Ted Bundy ( there are couple more minor examples in there too).

rated it

A memoi goes one star from me only because whenever it criticized a publication, it ended up in my reading list.

I am a believer in freedom and the distinction of arts and science.

rated it

The Sphinx, the Syrinx, and the UnicornThere was a warning about chapter VII so I continued reading chapter VII about a ertain Marquis.

It overs a lot of riters and philosophers that I have n't read but would like to study.

Anothe part I just read was about Thomas Huxley, father of Aldous, who just coined the term " agnostic. " Used the ord " neologism " to describe new word creation.I really enjoyed a ook but I took my time.

Milton turns out to e anothe believable character who lived in interesting times.

Nola was cursed, but instead was protected against vengeance.Next chapter talks about an obscure French novel where the protagonis is in love with thi an, ells her daughte, but never acts on her drea, ven after her usband has died.

It 's by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, but in hat one Love is denied because of ynicism. " And you read your Emily Dickinson, And I my Robert Frost, And we note our place with bookmarkersThat measure what we 've lost.Like a poem poorly writtenWe are verses out of rhythm, Couplets out of rhyme, In syncopated timeLost in the dangling conversationAnd the superficial sighs, Are the borders of our lives. "~ Paul Simon, from " The Dangling Conversation " Emily Dickinson was discussed, and it made me think of his ong.

She as also someone who denied the physical expression of love.Crime& Punishment is also mentioned.

First chapter is about science and echnology, especially DNA research and the atomic omb, and how hat knowledge is applied to the real world.

Their horror was equal to what the public would feel about one of their experiments escaping.I was thinking about the Syrinx, the Sphinx, and Axe Cop. There was this character on Axe Cop that combined a Lion, a woma, and a Cheetah.

Science& Tech? Really enjoying his book but taking my time.

Almost finished with a chapter on Science& Technology.

Roger Shattuck is extremely well read and poses interesting questions.

rated it

It is reasonably accessible though I have ever read Goethe 's Faust, any of the Marquis de Sade, or everal of the ther works Shattuck treats.

rated it

About a quarter of the way into he book Shattuck quotes Descartes: " For it seemed to me that I coul discover much more truth in the reasonings of men about what they know directly, men who will bear the consequences if they made a ad decision, than in the reasonings of a linguist in his analysis, who produces speculations without application and without consequence to him, except perhaps the vanity he finds in their remoteness from common sense ... " Shattuck that says it wil be about Faust.

Shattuck makes the assertio that since some people ca n't handle reading about violence on a psychological level it should n't be llowed.

I will have known this book as going to e trouble when he feels things like " Milton quotes Raphael in Paradise Lost. " It 's always a quote if it 's just made up dude.

He thinks that what Sade wrote is the forbidden knowledge, the books itself, and that they could be hidden away, no to be see to those well-adjusted folk after rigorous psychological tests.

Books with the same Available Languages

The Sweet Life in Paris
Confessions of a Las Vegas Motorcop
Before We Were Strangers
Tombs of Endearment
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
Bury Your Dead
Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized
Dangerous Allies
Dragon's Rescue

Books with the same Categories

The Sweet Life in Paris
Confessions of a Las Vegas Motorcop
Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized
The Motivation Hacker
Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm and Survival
The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
Interaction Ritual - Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior
Gestalt Therapy Verbatim
Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition

Same Year of the Publication

Mrs. Jeffries Stands Corrected
Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2
A Freeborn People: Politics and the Nation in Seventeenth-Century England
Angel Face and Amazing Grace
The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane
The Morning River
Dog Brain
A Vicious Circle
The Deep End of the Ocean

About Authors

© Nicole Waggonner