The philosophical and literary dimensions of schadenfreude were explored masterfully in John Portmann's "When Bad Things Happen to Other People" (1999). Now the psychologist Richard H. Smith brings science to the subject, in "The Joy of Pain," a useful if somewhat flabby contribution to what may be a burgeoning field of schadenfreude studies.
I wonder if they talk about the use of the concept in other languages, such as Greek.
I recently read a book, Murder on Theatre Row by Michael Jahn. One of the murder suspects is an alcoholic rock music critic named Lucien Schadenfreud. He first appears on page 5 of the book and page 11 of the Kindle edition.
I recognised that I was experiencing Schadenfreude this morning in the street. A young man, wearing a sharp suit, baseball cap and sunglasses (on a cloudy day) was leaning nonchalantly against a bus stop, chewing gum. He was obviously working hard at being a really 'cool dude'.
Then he blew a big bubble of gum and it splattered across his face. Instant loss of coolness.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.