Last Loosening: A Handbook for the Con Artist & Those Aspiring to Become One Walter Serner Author
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A cofounder of Dada and its enfant terrible, Walter Serner, whose demeanor has been called “a dance on the rim of a volcano,” was a brilliant observer of society. His Last Loosening: A Dada Manifesto was penned in 1918 and published in 1920. Slightly revised later as he became disgusted with Dada, it forms the first part of this volume, its philosophical foundation. It presents a playful “moral codex” to subvert the illusions and stereotypes underpinning society’s views on morality and decency, attacking the contradictions between appearance and reality. The volume’s second part, “The Handbook of Practices,” was written in Geneva in 1927 and offers a practical guide in gnomic prose for the modern amoralist, the con man. A cynical vision to be sure, Serner has set out a list of precepts to arm us in a world where boredom prevails and nothing but self-interest is a motivator, in his view a shameless, bigoted world wallowing in an orgy of narcissism, where it is either fool or be fooled. His smugness and indifference, his “Jesuit snobbery” as one critic called it, gave his work an explosive force that was unsurpassed by his contemporaries.

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