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Love's Body Paperback – 1 Jul 1992

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprinted Ed edition (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520071069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520071063
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,219,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"What a provocative, original and richly imaginative book it is."--Eliot Fremont-Smith, "The New York Times

From the Back Cover

'Love's Body is a modern Thus Spake Zarathustra. Norman O. Brown is variously considered the architect of a new view of man, a modern-day shaman, and a Pied Piper leading the youth to America astray. His more ardent admirers, of whom I am one, judge him one of the seminal thinkers who profoundly challenge the dominant assumptions of the age.

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Format: Paperback
Twenty years ago a friend told me to read Life Against Death. He said it changed his life. I read it and liked it but it didn't change my life. Recently I finally got around to reading this, his second book. I'm afraid I'm too old for any book to change my life, but I thoroughly enjoyed this provocative book. It is a series of meditations, inspired by a wide range of other thinkers who are referenced after each section,as opposed to the unified argument put forward in Life Against Death. As in that book, Freud is an influence, but so is Blake, Buddhism,Roheim, and Nietzsche, who may have provided the aphoristic format. Brown was one of the intellectual gurus of the Sixties, but unlike many others from that time, his ideas hold up thirty years later.
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Format: Paperback
This is a stunning and unique work. Built around sixteen themes Brown provides no central narrative, but instead through relatively short sections averaging, I'd guess, between 100 and 200 words he creates a transcendental effect. A review on the US site rather aptly describes it as 'Philosophy as a fever dream'. It's philosophy laced with poetry; psychomagic invocation of the intellect.

I'd love to able to say that any reader should jump straight into it, but I'm not sure that'd be great advice. Certainly I'd recommend reading Life Against Death prior to Love's Body if you're not too sure of your psychoanalysis and philosophy. I would love to be wrong about this. There is a mystical element to the work that perhaps some readers might be able to connect to regardless. But generally, if you're approaching it on an intellectual level, work your way up to it. I think if you can approach it with a degree of intellectual confidence - and an open mind - you'll be more likely to enjoy the experience. At it's best I found it simultaneously profound and hypnotic.

Don't confuse this description of my reading experience with Brown's academic credibility, though. He is a very serious scholar (and hugely overlooked in my view). Even though Love's Body has this dream-like quality, I still find more solid ground in it than in much European postmodern writing. The full expression and exploration of psychoanalytical ideas (Freud, Klein, Ferenczi - Jung is not mentioned) would certainly put off anyone grounded in a materialist ontology. They even made me grimace at points.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the kind of book to keep by the bedside. A few of these aphorisms are enough to think about at one time. Brown is remarkable in the way he gathers tidbits from the past to present a non literal interpretation of the Christian religion. He is much influenced by the poet William Blake. For all those who fear the concretization of the symbolic world in this culture, this is the book to read.
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