La beauté de la haine: Essais de misologie littéraire

Can one consider hatred to be beautiful? The title of the book does not seek to justify such an ugly passion, but rather to explore the most extreme hatred, the type of pure hatred that does not need political, economic, or psychological motivation for mass killings and destruction. Such self-sufficient hatred can be better grasped when considered as an aesthetic principle. The beauty of hatred informs key moments of French literary writing between early and post-modernity: anterotic poetry of the Renaissance, as well as the most vitriolic pamphlets of religious wars. The beauty of hatred is prominent in Corneille’s and Racine’s conception of tragedy, Rousseau’s thinking about literature, and Céline’s perverse vision of the sublime. Finally, hatred becomes an autonomous object of art, and manifests itself in the contemporary novel through pastiche and parody. When writing about the hatred that has destroyed her country, Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska admitted with irony: “Let’s not lie to ourselves: she is capable of creating beauty…” In his book, Jan Miernowski takes these words quite literally, showing that although hatred can indeed create beauty, only literature has an unlimited capacity to explain and heal the world.