- Book Review: EROS THE BITTERSWEET
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There was an awkward pause before the next question. I find it interesting that Carson considers her own work pretentious. While clearly this essay wears its erudition on its sleeve, in her later works she takes pains to write with her sleeves rolled up, so to speak, while here, her whole hand is swallowed up in the wizard's sleeve of a formal gown.
Book Review: EROS THE BITTERSWEET
But what does it mean to classify a work as pretentious when it is a product of unquestionably serious scholarship and learning? Normally, to be pretentious means to allude to knowledge you do not know. I detect two main strands of it in this work. Firstly, there is her ebullient over-interpretations. A textbook example appears on page twenty six, where Carson reads Sappho fragment a as if the extant condition of the verse was in every linguistic detail deliberate and meaningful. What else should we do but give our classical poets the benefit of the doubt and assume that every minute morphologic inflection carried meaning?
Any time you feel tempted to compare metric deviations to the rhythm of something more intimate, compare it to a brisk walk instead. It's usually just as good. To state this is not to opt for conservative readings of the classics. The second pretention in this essay is its failure to live up to the questions it poses.
On the one hand, it tantalises us with the prospect of uncovering a theory of love which is based on triangulation, but in practice it retreats into academic arguments about the perspectival position of the lover in relation to the beloved in a way that, for this reader at least, is unsatisfying, and annoyingly coy. Aug 19, Troy rated it liked it Shelves: theory , read-in I was in pain when I read this. Wanted a guide to the mysteries of love and lovepain and Carson had just cracked me open with The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos.
What was Kafka's thing about a great book cracking open the ice berg of the soul?
More insight. More guides to the mysteries. But this book wasn't that. This book, instead of being a guide, instead of I was in pain when I read this. This book, instead of being a guide, instead of being Beatrice, is Humbert Humbert mansplaining about obsessions only tangentially about love; mainly about obsessions from the classical world and riffs and plays on antecedent books about love and pain.
What does she argue? It's been a month since I read the book, so I don't really remember everything that well, but she claims that love is bittersweet, or "sweetbitter" in Sappho's version. Love is about the object of love that exists outside of the lovers, which might be true. It might be the case that what is loved is not really The Other, but an idealized form. Ok, I can live with that. It's roughly Proust's stance and it has some ring of truth.
But for me, my love was the friction between what I expected the beloved to say or do and what she actually did. It wasn't an obsession with an ideal, but with a cozy place between her constant surprises and constant familiarity. It wasn't how I remembered her, but how she existed in the world both not what I knew and what I knew. But Carson also ties everything to writing, as a writer is apt to do. Ties it to reading and language and the alphabet and the mysteries thereof.
READ THE NEW BOOK Her Bittersweet Desire BOOK ONLINE - video dailymotion
Because to me the mysteries of reading and "falling in love with reading" is pretty distinct from falling in love with a person. I mean, as a reader I get what she is getting at. There are occasions when I seem to breath and eat a particular book and that obsession comes slightly near what I feel when I love a person, but still, it's a writer's kick to see everything in terms of writing. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I'm in Paris. On vacation, I guess.
The so-called "city of love.
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View all 3 comments. Jan 09, Ruth rated it really liked it. What can we learn about romantic love by looking at ancient greek poetry? I would have said I don't particularly care but Anne Carson's writing, ever poetic in itself even when it's in the form of essays, drew me in. And there's actually a lot to connect to- like, when I go to the movies, why is it that the best moments in an eros-related story are the ones before they hook up, from the moment you realize it's a possibility until when it actually happens or doesn't happen- it almost doesn't mat What can we learn about romantic love by looking at ancient greek poetry?
And there's actually a lot to connect to- like, when I go to the movies, why is it that the best moments in an eros-related story are the ones before they hook up, from the moment you realize it's a possibility until when it actually happens or doesn't happen- it almost doesn't matter? The greeks have some things to say about this phenomenon, among other things. About the actual book, it collects and discusses a bunch of images and metaphors for romantic love, mostly from poems.
Jan 07, Abby rated it it was amazing Shelves: poetry , nonfiction , ancients , lit-theory , philosophy. The interaction is a fiction arranged by the mind of the lover. It carries an emotional charge both hateful and delicious and emits a light like knowledge. No one took a more clear-eyed view of this matter than Sappho. What does she think about while eating breakfast or tying her shoelaces? Perhaps eros and every shade of its meaning from Sappho to the present, perhaps even more.
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It is a sublimely measured and controlled bit of literary theory, exploring why eros has been the motivating force of poets and writers since the beginning of recorded literature. So compelling. An important little volume for writers and readers. He seems to me equal to gods that man who opposite you sits and listens close to your sweet speaking and lovely laughing—oh it puts the heart in my chest on wings for when I look at you, a moment, then no speaking is left in me no: tongue breaks, and thin fire is racing under skin and in eyes no sight and drumming fills ears and cold sweat holds me and shaking grips me, all greener than grass I am and dead—or almost I seem to me.
Sappho, Fragment View 1 comment. Jun 07, Jack rated it really liked it Shelves: 20th-century , ancient-greece-rome , women , philosophy-theory-psychoanalysis , canada. What is erotic about reading or writing is the play of imagination called forth in the space between you and your object of knowledge.
Poets and novelists, like lovers, touch that space to life with their metaphors and subterfuges. The edges of the space are the edges of the things you love, whose inconcinnities make your mind move. And there is Eros, nervous realist in this sentimental domain, who acts out of a love of paradox, that is as he folds the beloved object out of sight into a myster What is erotic about reading or writing is the play of imagination called forth in the space between you and your object of knowledge.
And there is Eros, nervous realist in this sentimental domain, who acts out of a love of paradox, that is as he folds the beloved object out of sight into a mystery, into a blind point where it can float known and unknown, actual and possible, near and far, desired and drawing you on. Even when I'm not listening to Haddaway, sometimes I ask myself 'What is love? Have I been in love?
Bittersweet Desire: K. Elizabeth Stevens Works With Headlong
The word is something viscous, it can't be fully grasped - an element always escapes. It seems like such a simple question, but I come to differing conclusions depending on the day. Consider the developing of asexual and aromantic identities online -- I think they take something fundamentally human and deconstruct it much more than any other relation of gender or sexual identity. They propose something innate in a contemporary pseudo-medical context that, by the conventions of its rhetoric, is difficult to argue against, but also difficult to accept.
I believe Carson speaks cogently on the topic of contemporary erotic anxiety through her exploration of what is 'bittersweet'. She's got that ice-skating grace to her prose that makes the subject all the more attractive. That her writing has something attractive to it serves the subject like little else, and that the book prioritises allusion above systematic argument is to its benefit. That its final chapters concern themselves with a reading of Plato's Phaedrus was of special interest to me, because its flirtatious, allusive style was unlike anything else I'd read by Plato at that point, and it has influenced, in a quiet way, what I read and how I read going forward.
Jun 02, Quiver rated it it was amazing Shelves: a-english , u-unique , ph-phil-psy , favorites. The great Greek poetess Sappho called the god of love glukupikron or sweetbitter , though we must content ourselves with the more familiar-sounding bittersweet. The word, however, is just the start of a long thread Anne Carson unravels for us. Eros is an issue of boundaries.
He exists because certain boundaries do. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I could dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can. Carson mesmerises in this meditation on Eros.
bercaeclasran.tk She binds various close readings of ancient Greek sources of which quite a few originals are given alongside translations with her wide-ranging knowledge of poetry, philosophy, and scholarship in what would become her signature readable, yet lyrical style. For her eros is lack, eros is pain and pleasure, eros is the edge of desire or of the consonant, eros is language and reading and writing, and waiting and hating the wait, eros is marvelling at the feeling of ice in your hand but only because it will eventually melt.
Eros is paradox. Most importantly, behind all of these ideas is eros as a triangular structure held taut between the three vertices of lover, beloved, and obstacle—be that obstacle the traditional separation by circumstance of Romeo and Juliet, or the less commonly considered separation of two meanings by the distance of a metaphor or pun. We read about lovers, because we can simultaneously enjoy their predicament and the knowledge that their predicament will resolve the same way that we enjoy a pun because of the disconnect between appearance and meaning.
We read in general, because we seek knowledge that the author is trying to deliver through the vehicle and inevitably also the obstacle of language. Cultural tidbits as well as foreign words and phrases trickle through the text in a pleasingly clarified form and only enhance the experience.
Carson may not be Sappho, yet. But she is certainly a poet extraordinaire. Even in this debut prose piece, she shines with insight and lyrical poise many essayists and quite a few poets would begrudge her. Sep 06, Mike rated it it was amazing. Ruth read this earlier and I decided to give it a go.