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Love's Confusions


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Table of Contents

1. Agape, Eros, and the Will 2. Seeing, Improvising, and Self-Love 3. First Love and After 4. Anxiety and the Ethics of Intimacy 5. Jealousy, Perversity, and Other Liabilities of Love 6. Sentimentality and the Gift of the Self 7. Lebensraum, Desire, and the Envy of Eternity 8. Violence, Pornography, and Sadomasochism 9. Work and/as Love 10. Sex, Democracy, and the Future of Love Notes Acknowledgments Index

Promotional Information

Reeve's Love's Confusions is a courageous and vulnerable book. -- Candace Vogler, author of Reasonably Vicious Reading this book is like having a week of splendid conversations with C. D. C. Reeve on topics related to love. The author is immensely well read and thinks deeper than orthodoxies of left or right. Epiphanies creep up on the reader unexpected and unheralded. Love's Confusions is brilliant and original; it made me think along new paths about my own life and the literature I love to read. -- Paul Woodruff, author of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue C. D. C. Reeve's Love's Confusions is impressive. Reeve's treatment of love is fresh, and even in the more abstract parts of the book the tone remains intimate. He does a good job of taking on this broad topic, handling issues of historical shifts in the meaning of love with real aplomb. The book offers an original and engaging account of love--no easy task. -- Heather Love, Assistant Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

C. D. C. Reeve is Delta Kappa Epsilon Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Not a systematic treatise but a "commonplace book" of stories and ideas, this philosophical exploration of love focuses on its conflicts and paradoxes, rather than its joys and raptures. How can Christianity command love of God, when "love doesn't seem to be the sort of thing we can give on command"? How does adult love relate to the infantile desire for one's first love, mother? Reeve, a professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, also tries to shed light on the tensions between love and its troubled relatives-anxiety, jealousy, sentimentality, pornography and sadomasochism (all brilliantly covered in Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse). The book draws on numerous thinkers, including Plato, Kant, Kierkegaard, Sartre and Gilligan, and analyzes examples of love from the works of such writers as Homer, Turgenev, Forster, Kundera and Murdoch. Relying heavily on fictional examples, it has a correspondingly hothouse feel. At times, the discussion is clear, as in assessing the alternation in married life between the humdrum and the romantic. But often the writing is obscure and convoluted (though sometimes beautifully so), as if written from within one of love's paradoxes: "Who I am is as much-and as little-under the authority of others as what love is, and what I must do if I am to love." (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Understanding the persistence of the past is only the first of the rewards of Love's Confusions. Reeve is also good--good enough to make an honest reader squirm, at times--on anxiety, envy, jealousy, sentimentality, narcissism, and pornography. And it's a pleasure watching him engage with great texts, not only of philosophy--Plato's Symposium, Augustine (there's a thrilling description of orgasm from The City of God), Kant, Kierkegaard, Iris Murdoch--but also literature: Homer (Reeve astutely explains why Odysseus gave up Calypso to return to Penelope, which many a shallow male, including this writer, has undoubtedly asked himself), Proust (of course), Junichiro Tanizaki, Philip Larkin, Milan Kundera, and Norman Rush's magnificent Mortals. -- George Scialabba Boston Globe 20050206 Love's Confusions takes the reader on a meandering journey with no clear goal but with a lot of learning and discovery along the way. It teases, it entices, it turns your head inside out, and it's a hell of a ride. In that regard, it's a lot like love itself. -- Clark Humphrey Seattle Times 20050603 Love's Confusions testifies to our capacity for learning from the pains and pleasures of love. -- Tom D'Evelyn Providence Journal 20050807

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