Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The ten biggest bootlickers from literature and history

Deborah Parker is Professor of Italian at the University of Virginia. Mark Parker is Professor of English at James Madison University. They are coauthors of Inferno Revealed: From Dante to Dan Brown and Sucking Up: A Brief Consideration of Sycophancy.

One of their ten biggest bootlickers from literature and history, as shared at Electric Lit:
While the bargain struck by the sycophant — fleeting moments of vain gratification — often seems a losing proposition, the arrangement can at times have some advantage. In The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst presents a virtuoso suck- up in Nick Guest, a well-educated hanger-on in a rising conservative MP’s home. Hollinghurst brilliantly links Nick’s aesthetic sensibility to his abilities as a flatterer. Early in the novel Nick accompanies the family of a friend as they drive to a country estate. But while the family can be bored as they contemplate the visit, Nick is essentially on duty as resident sycophant. From the outside, one would be uncertain of Nick’s intentions. But upon arrival, Nick revels in the pleasures of an intense connoisseurship, tracing the beautiful surfaces of the estate, noting the details of its elegance and its rich evocation of architectural traditions. Nick is a flunkey but this seems the price of the ticket to the world of the rich and powerful. He savors the view, but he also relishes his intense response to it: Nick understands and enjoys what the family owns better than they do.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Line of Beauty is among Kwasi Kwarteng's top ten books about Thatcherism.

The Page 99 Test: Sucking Up.

--Marshal Zeringue