Sloth. Avarice. Lust. Gluttony. Pride. Anger. Envy. While long denounced as the source of much of the evil in the world, the Seven Deadly Sins have also inspired the great classics of Western literature - Milton's 'Paradise Lost', all of Shakespeare's plays, and the works of Aristotle, Chaucer, Dante, Jane Austen, and Walt Whitman, to name just a few. 'The book of vices' brings together some of the wittiest tributes to human weakness and temptation ever written, from Rabelais's 'In praise of debtors', to Benjamin Franklin's 'On selecting a mistress', to Ben Johnson's 'Hymn to the Belly'. Ranging across the centuries, it includes the classic bawdy tales of Boccaccio and Apuleius, as well as tempting selections from such modern writers as Ogden Nash, John Updike, Fran Lebowitz, Tom Wolfe, and Lisa Alther. Poking good-natured fun at the new 'politics of virtue', 'The book of vices' is a guide to the wild side of literature - and its tales of caution will provide edifying reading for the entire family.