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Of the many different kinds of anti-Semite, T.S. Eliot was the rarest: one who placed his anti-Semitism at the service of his art. Contemporary readers of his work are likely to ask themselves certain questions. Is literary merit compatible with expressions of racial contempt? How are those scorned by such work to respond? Anthony Julius's acclaimed book addresses these important questions in a series of remarkable adversarial readings, which both relate Eliot's anti-Semitism to his greater literary undertaking, and consider it in the context of arguments about the censorship of `offensive' literature. This new edition of a seminal study includes an introductory chapter telling the story of the critical furore the book provoked on its first publication, and a concluding response, in-depth, to the reassessment of Eliot's work among poets, scholars and readers that has since ensued.
Since the mid-19th century artists have compulsively rejected received ideas in order to test and subvert morality, law, society, art itself. But what happens when all boundaries have been crossed, all taboos broken, all limits violated? Transgressions addresses this controversial subject. Anthony Julius traces its history from the outraged response to Manet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe to the scandal caused by the Royal Academy's Sensation exhibition a century-and-a-half later. Throughout the book, supported by the work of such artists as Marcel Duchamp, the Chapman brothers, Andres Serrano, Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George, Paul McCarthy, Jeff Koons, Hans Haacke and Anselm Kiefer, Julius shows how the modern period has been characterized by three kinds of transgressive art: an art that perverts established art rules; an art that defiles the beliefs and sentiments of its audience; and an art that challenges and disobeys the rules of the state. The evidence assembled, Julius concludes his dissection of the landscapes of contemporary art by posing some important questions: what is art's future, when its boundary-exceeding, taboo-breaking endeavours become the norm?; and is anything of value lost when we submit to art's violations?