Civil Passions: Selected Writings
Black Inc., $34.95 pb, 303 pp
Martin Krygier’s deft, discursive prose could persuade anyone except an ironclad ideologue that it is exhilarating as well as healthy to examine one’s prejudices and complacencies. Krygier is also a writer possessed of a frank openness that gives credence to the idea that you can judge a book by its cover. I suspect he’d also enjoy the piquancy of maxim busting. The cover of Civil Passions is a particularly beautiful one: a detail of Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s 1338–40 fresco, the Allegory of Good Government. Its Giottoesque precision and its colour – those luminous Sienese pinks and reds – would be reason enough to use it. But there is a deeper fitness to the choice, and it has to do with what Krygier describes as his destined mode of being: one of hybridity.