“The classics are full of moral atrocities—as they appear to us today, and sometimes as they appeared to the more enlightened members of the author’s own society—that the author apparently approved of. Rape, pillage, murder, human and animal sacrifice, concubinage, and slavery in the Iliad; misogyny in the Oresteia and countless other works; blood-curdling vengeance; anti-Semitism in more works of literature than one can count, including works by Shakespeare and Dickens; racism and sexism likewise; homophobia (think only of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida and Mann’s ‘Death in Venice’); monarchism, aristocracy, caste systems and other illegitimate (as they seem to us) forms of hierarchy; colonialism, imperialism, religious obscurantism, militarism, gratuitous violence, torture (as of Iago in Othello), and criminality; alcoholism and drug addiction; relentless stereotyping; sadism; pornography; machismo; cruelty to animals (bullfighting, for example); snobbism; praise for fascism and communism, and for idleness; contempt for the poor, the frail, the elderly, the deformed, and the unsophisticated, for people who work for a living, for the law-abiding, and for democratic processes. The world of literature is a moral anarchy.” – Richard A. Posner, “Against Ethical Criticism”

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