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The Paradox of Love
Pascal Bruckner
Translated by Steven Rendall
With an afterword by Richard Golsan

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"Bruckner's book seeks to reverse the sentimental trend. His aim is to strip away the 'illusions and false expectations' connected with all matters of the heart. It has to be said--he does a pretty thorough demolition job, starting with religion. . . . Bruckner's vision of the future is chilling, though it is already coming about. He sees a world of solitary souls who form their relationships exclusively online, through 'social networking sites'."--Daily Mail

"At the start of his exhilarating new book, The Paradox of Love (Princeton University Press), Bruckner recalls that the parents mostly hung out on the second floor of the building, smoking dope and enjoying sex, while downstairs the big kids tormented the little kids. . . . In France the bestseller status of The Paradox of Love owes much to Bruckner's suave pensées. Comparing marriage with politics, for instance, he compacts half a dozen insights into a sentence: 'The couple is a little principality that votes its own laws and is constantly in danger of falling into despotism or anarchy.' There were a few parents who did some work. They were among the first to see what was happening and the first to withdraw. They shifted their children to schools run by what they sometimes called 'the bourgeois capitalist state.' After a few angry meetings, the alternative school closed its doors. That was a major event in Bruckner's disillusionment with the ethos of his own generation. A few years later he became one of the nouveaux philosophes in Paris, a group that arose partly in reaction to the standard-issue leftist thought that dominated French discussion for many years. He's now best known as a social critic, the author of The Tears of the White Man, about the often destructive policies intended to help the Third World, and The Tyranny of Guilt, on the West's neurotic desire to blame itself for all the ills of the planet."--National Post

"Bruckner confirms that there is indeed a 'paradox' about today's laissez-faire sexual mores in Europe: the freedom it offers is exactly the freedom of the market, in which there are always winners and losers. . . . What's more, even as Bruckner embraces the ideology of romantic love--'a whole erotics, love that makes us as much as we make it'--he shows how the lifelong pursuit of passion exacts an awful toll on relationship. . . . In the end, Bruckner's urbane but unsparing portrait of the way the French love now suggests that sophistication has as many pitfalls as naïveté."--Adam Kirsch, B&N Review

"Pascal Bruckner's The Paradox of Love is . . . playful and wicked. It is ruminative and essayistic in style, following a tradition that harks back to Montaigne. Its purpose is less to persuade or to explain than to provoke."--Peter Beilharz, Australian

ENDORSEMENT:

"Pascal Bruckner is one of the most original, and least academic, of the new French philosophers. He has a mordant wit, a feeling for the pregnant sentence, and his dissection of the myths of romantic love--too elegantly done to be called a 'deconstruction'--is ideal reading for lovers of paradox, and even for those still in love with love's paradox."--Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and The Table Comes First

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File created: 4/18/2014

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