Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Meaning of Love

The Meaning of Love by Vladimir Solovyov

A unique and intriguing work, offering insight into a stranger corner of the Russian intelligentsia's utopian theorizing. Here the stress is on romantic and erotic relationships, and the way this connects with religious mysticism, larger society, art and the core of life. It's valuable as a point of speculation and aesthetic philosophy. Not terribly persuasive though, given the disconnect from empirical detail, the lack of examining the main premises and a general hastiness in argumentative style. It also unfortunately carries forth a very strong sexist bias that renders women as utterly passive. Hardly uncommon for nineteenth century Russia, but it does sharply limit the ongoing value of the core argument. Largely useful for assessing perspectives from a certain historical context, rather than carrying through valuable insights into the present.

Worse than: Chaos, Territory, Art: Deluze and the Framing of the Earth by Elizabeth Grosz

Better than: The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin

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