Love, Desire and Transcendence in French Literature: Deciphering Eros

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European literature and theory of the twentieth century have been intensely preoccupied with questions of 'Desire', whereas 'love' has increasingly represented a fractured and strange, if not actually suspect, proposal: this is a prime symptom of an age of deep cultural mutation and uncertainty. Paul Gifford's book allows this considerable contemporary phenomenon to be observed steadily and whole, with strategic understanding of its origins, nature and meaning. Gifford paints a clear and coherent picture of the evolution of erotic ideas and their imaginary and format expressions in modern French writing. He first retraces the formative matrix of French tradition by engaging with five classic sources: Plato's Symposium, the Song of Songs, the myth of Genesis, the tension between Greek Eros and Christian Agape and the repercussions of Nietzsche's declaration of the 'death of God'. The book will appeal not only to students of French literature, but to all those interested in the cultural upheavals of the twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754652694
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

First series : origins, recognitions 9
1 Plato's Symposium : the transcending enigma of eros 11
2 Nuptial splendour : the song of songs 25
3 Shadow upon splendour : genesis, transgression and the west 45
Second series : love as cultural construct 67
Mappings : eros and agape 69
4 Love in French literary tradition : the troubadours to Rousseau 73
5 The crisis of eros and the 'death of God' 87
Third series : deconstructing Romantic transcendence 103
Mappings : eros under suspicion 105
6 Marcel Proust : the idolatries of eros 109
7 Paul Valery : eros unveiled and the re-imaging of love 127
8 Paul Claudel : transgression and promise 149
Fourth series : the immanent beyond 171
Mappings : libido liberated and love sublime 173
9 Andre Breton's starry castle 177
10 Georges Bataille : the erotic abyss 195
11 Marguerite Duras : the haunting 213
Fifth series : the postmodern symposium 231
Mappings : eros 'post-everything' 233
12 Roland Barthes : amorous discourse and its subject 237
13 Luce Irigaray : lifting the curse of genesis 255
Sixth series : agape remembered? 275
Mappings : 'post-Christian' memory of agape 277
14 Pierre Emmanuel : 'Car enfin je vous aime' 281
15 Julia Kristeva : re-telling the love story 301
Conclusion : remembering the past, negotiating the future 323
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