Women and Men: A Philosophical Conversation

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During the course of a single summer in Paris, in the shade of a fig tree, a journalist and a philosopher meet to participate in an age-old pastime: the contemplation of love. The result is Women and Men, a book about the relationship between the sexes, but more than that, a book about the nature of longing and the character of the human heart. In ten provocative discussions - presented here exactly as they occurred - Francoise Giroud and Bernard-Henri Levy wrestle with human history's most powerful ...
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New New book, 1995 Little, Brown & Co books 1st English Language edition, hardcover & dust jacket, some light wear to edges, in excellent condition, great book.

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Overview

During the course of a single summer in Paris, in the shade of a fig tree, a journalist and a philosopher meet to participate in an age-old pastime: the contemplation of love. The result is Women and Men, a book about the relationship between the sexes, but more than that, a book about the nature of longing and the character of the human heart. In ten provocative discussions - presented here exactly as they occurred - Francoise Giroud and Bernard-Henri Levy wrestle with human history's most powerful preoccupations, questions and yearnings which have animated lovers since the beginning of time, inspiring symphonies, volumes of poetry, masterpieces of art and literature, even wars. How do we love those we love, and what are the bounds of passion? What, finally, is the nature of desire, what do we most hunger for, most need? The mysteries of romantic love yield themselves up to thrilling scrutiny in these dialogues: seduction, eroticism, the power of beauty, the problem of jealousy, the struggle for fidelity, the wish for pure rapture, and the enduring belief in eternal love. Drawing easily and usefully on an astonishing knowledge of intellectual history - using Stendhal, Proust, Freud, Sartre, and many more as touchstones for their ideas and intuitions - Giroud and Levy achieve a conversational depth and insight in these pages that is a joy to witness, a pleasure to over-hear. Their meditations on love and on the mighty and sometimes mystifying appetites of the human heart and body are both tremendously edifying and great fun.

It leapt onto the French bestseller lists at number one, selling an incredible 80,000 copies in a single week. Now, at last, Women and Men comes to America. She's a journalist. He's a philosopher. Here is their fascinating dialogue--about sex, jealousy, fidelity, marriage, and human love. It is illuminating, infuriating, and provocative.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A bestseller in France, this set of opinionated conversations on male-female relations serves up a very Gallic intellectual discourse on love, sex, jealousy, seduction and infidelity. Giroud, former government minister, feminist journalist and cofounder of L'Express, advocates women's independence and financial autonomy, even advising women to avoid living with a man if possible. Lvy, a philosopher (Barbarism with a Human Face), believes in Freudianism, endorses the ideal of monogamous fidelity and is skeptical of the claim that a sexual revolution ever occurred. Sparks fly as these conversationalists discuss love at first sight, physical attraction and ugliness, why couples succeed or fail, divorce, the erotic as an energizing component of marriage and the chilling impact of AIDS on sexual behavior. Alternately insightful and pretentious, their witty talks sparkle with allusions to Balzac, Proust, Sartre, Anais Nin, Georges Bataille, Goethe, Joyce and many other writers. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This book, the result of taped conversations between Giroud (author, journalist, politician) and Levy (author and leader of a group of Leftists known as the "nouveaux philosophes"), explores age-old themes like love (seduction, "loving" vs. being "in love," platonic love, promiscuity, AIDS); marriage (jealousy, fidelity); women's liberation; and ugliness vs. beauty in the game of seduction. The subject of love is not new for Giroud, whose Alma Mahler: Or the Art of Being Loved (LJ 2/1/92) includes bios of Alma and Gustave Mahler. Neither author draws on autobiographical anecdotes; rather, both invoke their experience and knowledge of literary works. A candid exchange of views between two old friends first published in 1993 (Les Hommes et les Femmes, Editions Olivier Orban), this "odd book," as the authors themselves describe it, became a best seller in France soon after publication.-Danielle Mihram, Univ. of Southern California
Bonnie Smothers
This translation of the 1993 French best-seller that sold 80,000 copies in a single week is unlikely to achieve that kind of success in the U.S., but it should, nevertheless, find plenty of readers. After all, it's about sex, jealousy, fidelity, marriage, and human love. And, like Louis Malle's fascinating film My Dinner with Andre", it's set in the form of a conversation between two appealing, extremely well-read people who punctuate their ideas with a wide variety of intriguing references--in this case, quotes from, mainly, French philosophers, literary types, and well-traveled politicians. Expect readers to stay with this conversation from beginning to end, partially because of the aggressively opinionated talkers and partially because of the underlying premise--the state of affairs between men and women today has evolved to a point that's distressing to both sexes. According to Giroud, journalist, author, former government minister, and cofounder of L'Express", men are suffering because they've been "thrown off balance by dynamic, victorious women." Further, there are fewer of these sufferers in France than in the U.S., where men are "really unhappy." In France, she claims, "relations between men and women are and remain the best in the world, even if it isn't always paradise." As for Levy, philosopher, homme de gauche", and author of Barbarism with a Human Face" 1985 and The Testament of God" 1981, he agrees but stresses at one point that the "only thing [men are] interested in is the difference between the sexes." And on and on they circle each other, agreeing, contesting, postulating. How will it all turn out? Women and Men", it's still the same old story. Or is it?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316314749
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 12/22/1994
  • Edition description: 1st English language ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.81 (w) x 8.53 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Authors' Note
1 On Women's Liberation As a Subject of Derision 3
2 On Ugliness As a Basic Injustice 28
3 On "Being in Love" As an Outmoded Expression 48
4 On Jealousy As Consubstantial with Love 71
5 On Love As Heaven and Hell 90
6 On the Erotic As a Component of Marriage 110
7 On the Pleasures of Fidelity 137
8 On the Immutability of Sexual Difference 158
9 On Seduction and Its Games 185
10 On the Couple As Will and Idea 212
Epilogue 231
Index 233
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