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Outrageous Fortune – Gloomy Reflections on Luck and Life - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Outrageous Fortune: Gloomy Reflections on Luck and Life

William Ian Miller


The book is a drolly pessimistic and vaguely misanthropic account that gives it a unity of voice, of view, and of several interlaced themes: the scarcity of good, that most of happiness comes in the morally questionable form of Schadenfreude, or is experienced mostly as relief that some expected bad thing did not materialize. It deals extensively with those tinges of ominousness that accompany good luck, and the related widespread belief, or feeling in the gut, that people’s mere desires and wishes provoke the gods to thwart their wishes. Are good things subject to a law of conservation, so th ... More

Keywords: pessimism, evil, humiliation, disgust, luck, misfortune, perversity of desires, revenge, messengers, narcissism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780197530689
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197530689.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William Ian Miller, author
Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan