The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity

Boxsel, Matthijs Van

Published by Reaktion Books
ISBN 10: 1861892314 / ISBN 13: 9781861892317
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2005. Paperback. Shows how stupidity manifests itself in all areas, in everyone, at all times, proposing that stupidity is the foundation of our civilization. This title analyses stupidity on the basis of fairy tales, cartoons, triumphal arches, garden architecture, Baroque ceilings, jokes, flimsy excuses and science fiction. Num Pages: 208 pages, 55 black & white illustrations. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 199 x 131 x 17. Weight in Grams: 238. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Matthijs van Boxsel believes that no one is intelligent enough to understand their own stupidity. In "The Encyclopodia of Stupidity" he shows how stupidity manifests itself in all areas, in everyone, at all times, proposing that stupidity is the foundation of our civilization. In short sections with such titles as 'The Blunderers' Club', 'Fools in Hell', 'Genealogy of Idiots', and 'The Aesthetics of the Empty Gesture', stupidity is analysed on the basis of fairy tales, cartoons, triumphal arches, garden architecture, Baroque ceilings, jokes, flimsy excuses and science fiction. But Van Boxsel wants to do more than just assemble a 'shadow cabinet' of wisdom; he tries to fathom the logic of this opposite world. Where do understanding and intelligence begin and end? He examines mythic fools such as Cyclops and King Midas, cities such as Gotham, archetypes including the dumb blonde, and traditionally stupid animals such as the goose, the donkey and the headless chicken. Van Boxsel posits that stupidity is a condition for intelligence, that blunders stimulate progress, that failure is the basis for success. In this erudite and witty book he maintains that our culture is the product of a series of failed attempts to comprehend stupidity.

Review: '[a] weirdly wonderful compilation . . . van Boxsel ranges from wise fools to dumb blondes, via laughing meadows and perfects idiots.' --The Observer

`An illustrated hodgepodge of ruminations, anecdotes, aphorisms and esoterica.' --New York Times

`If there is one publication that qualifies for immortality and is also inexhaustible, it should be The Encyclopædia of Stupidity.' --Vrij Nederland

`Matthijs van Boxsel has collected the most fantastic facts and knows how to share with the reader his pleasure in doing so.' --NRC Handelsblad

`A superb collection of improbable follies, blunders, errors, stupidities and howlers. An uncommonly cheerful and exciting book.'
--Elsevier

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Title: The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Book Condition: New

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Matthijs van Boxsel
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