The Fable of the Bees Author:Bernard Maneville The Fable of the Bees or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits — Newly edited, with an introduction, by Irwin Primer — With Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) the English came as close to having a Voltaire of their own as they ever came. A clear-sighted and fearless critic, he had the knack of making furious controversies volcanic and of making people see ... more »red wherever he introduced his comments, and e introduced them everywhere. In addition, he was one of the classic prose stylists of English literature, as he went cutting and slashing among the prejudices of his age, which are also the prejudices of ours.
The theme of The Fable of the Bees, a major portion of which is included in our edition, is that private vices are the necessary and indispensable support of public virtues. (You can see what such a doctrine would mean to the genteel people of all ages.) That this is not merely a frivolous paradox is evident when this principle is translated into terms of the Affluent Society.
The editor, Irwin Primer, of the Department of English at Rutgers University, is a respected authority on the literature and philosophy of the 18th Century. His introduction places Mandeville?s theories and positions.« less