n Historia - Explicating and understanding the genius of evil
The Fox and the Flies: The world of Joseph Silver, racketeer and psychopath, Charles van Onselen : book review

Volume 54, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X
  • Author Dan Wylie
  • Source : Historia, Volume 54, Issue 1, May 2009, p. 340 - 371
  • Accreditation : Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
    SciELO SA
    The International Bibliography of Social Sciences (IBSS)



Out of the cover of Charles van Onselen's newest - a striking cover, the colour of dried blood and darkness, glossy embossed flies hovering - the man stares with eyes that gleam with an unnatural glassiness. This photographed figure reminds me of Charles Dickens' portrayal of Blandois, an ugly insinuating presence in his novel , "with his moustache going up and his nose coming down in that most evil of smiles, and with his surface eyes looking as if they belonged to his dyed hair, and had had their natural power of reflecting light stopped" by some unnerving natural process. However, Dickens insists, Nature "is never to blame in any such instance".

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