|Artful Immorality - Variants of Cynicism|
Machiavelli, Gracián, Diderot, Nietzsche
Mayfield, Daniel Scott
2015, 481 S, Gb, (Gruyter)
When a term is overused, it tends to fall out of fashion. Cynicism seems to be an exception. Its polytropic versatility apparently prevents any discontinuation of its application. Everyone knows that cynicism denotes that which is deemed deleterious at a given time; and every time will specify its toxicities the apparent result being the terms non-specificity. This study describes the cynical stance and statement so as to render the terms use scholarly expedient. Close readings of textual sources commonly deemed cynical provide a legible starting point. A rhetorical analysis of aphorisms ascribed to the arch-Cynic Diogenes facilitates describing the design of cynical statements, as well as the characteristic features of the cynical stance. These patterns are identifiable in later texts generally labeled cynical above all in Machiavellis Principe. With recourse to the Diogenical archetype, cynicism is likewise rendered describable in Graciáns Oráculo manual, Diderots Le neveu de Rameau, and Nietzsches Posthumous Fragments. This studys description of cynicism provides a phenomenon otherwise considered amorphous with distinct contours, renders transparent its workings, and tenders a dependable basis for further analyses.