Abstract

What is so appealing about the figure of the master-criminal? The answer lies in the kind of solution it provides to the problem of suffering. Rather than just accounting for affliction—as, for example, does Leibniz’s theodicy—such a figure enchants it, transforming mundane objects into actual or potential clues, everyday incidents into moves in a cosmic conflict, random misery into a purposeful pattern. The master-criminal (the shadowy villain of The Usual Suspects, say) thus constitutes a secular replacement for the Devil, making possible a negative re-enchantment of the world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 37-57
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-18
Open Access
No
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