Eros the Bittersweet

Eros the Bittersweet The insights presented in the volume are many and wide ranging recognizably in tune with the subtlest modern discussions of desire such as triangulation or loving what others love yet offering new

  • Title: Eros the Bittersweet
  • Author: Anne Carson
  • ISBN: 9780691014494
  • Page: 475
  • Format: Paperback
  • The insights presented in the volume are many and wide ranging, recognizably in tune with the subtlest modern discussions of desire such as triangulation or loving what others love , yet offering new solutions to old problems, like the proper interpretation of Plato s Phaedrus On the frequently discussed effect of literacy on Greek civilization, the book offers a freshThe insights presented in the volume are many and wide ranging, recognizably in tune with the subtlest modern discussions of desire such as triangulation or loving what others love , yet offering new solutions to old problems, like the proper interpretation of Plato s Phaedrus On the frequently discussed effect of literacy on Greek civilization, the book offers a fresh view it was no accident that the poets who invented Eros were also the first readers and writers of the Western literate tradition.Originally published in 1986.The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print on demand technology to again make available previously out of print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    One thought on “Eros the Bittersweet”

    1. If something terrible happens to me one day, and all that's left is my body, and if, around the same time, something terrible should happen to Anne Carson and all that's left is her brain, I would hope that somehow medical science and luck would combine, and allow these terrible accidents to be resolved through a relatively happy solution, by which one of us (not Ms. Carson) would be greatly improved.

    2. Anne Carson’s debut book is certainly an impressive piece of scholarship, which, for this particular reader, made this both a pleasure and a burden to trudge through. Summoning her impressive knowledge of Greek drama, prose (both philosophic and fictional) and poetry, Carson conjures a daring argument about the symbiotic and triangular connections between words on a page, their writer and their reader, with the notion of “desire” as the Spanish Fly that keeps all the sweaty limbs and soile [...]

    3. In one of her chapters Anne Carson writes, "Imagine a city where there is no desire. Supposing for the moment that the inhabitants of the city continue to eat, drink and procreate in some mechanical way; still, their life looks flat. They do not theorize or spin tops or speak figuratively. Few think to shun pain; none give gifts. They bury their dead and forget where [ . . . ] A city without desire is, in sum, a city of no imagination." Carson's elucidation of this idea - that desire is what mov [...]

    4. There are no words for how perfect this book is. A gorgeous exploration of the edges of personhood, letters, desire. Endlessly fascinating and utterly engrossing. I couldn't put it down. I want to fall in love. A sample from a favorite passage:"The English word 'symbol' is the Greek word symbolon which means, in the ancient world, one half of a knucklebone carried as a token of identity to someone who has the other half. Together the two halves compose one meaning. A metaphor is a species of sym [...]

    5. "Both the experience of desire and the experience of reading have something to teach us about edges. We have endeavored to see what that is by consulting ancient literature, lyric and romantic, for its exposition of eros. We have watched how archaic poets shape love poems (as triangles) and how ancient novelists construct novels (as a sustained experience of paradox). We caught sight of a similar outline, even in Homer, where the phenomenon of reading and writing resurfaces in Bellerophon's stor [...]

    6. It's all coming back to me now, why I dislike this kind of theoretical, transhistorical argument grounded in a series of close readings. The author appears to believe that she has stumbled upon a deep psychological, even ontological, truth which transcends all context and time, as well as any counter-examples. This is an enormous claim, and it would take something verging on religious faith to countenance it based on what it presented here. My own personal experience is an important counter-exam [...]

    7. I have to admit, I read this book because oh-so-literary characters on "The L Word" dropped the name while flirting. And again, I admit, I have also tried to talk about this book while hitting on women. Why? Because this book, so thick with Carson's immense knowledge of classical literature, is also incredibly romantic. To the Greeks, the idea of writing itself was relatively new. Instead of telling stories orally - a setting that allowed the listener and speaker a closeness with the words, beca [...]

    8. Anne Carson, following Sappho, argues that Eros is a lack, a wound, a gesture toward a wholeness that's only possibility exists in our total self-annihilation. This sort of also describes my relationship to this book. I can only read it as a void, a gaping hole in myself, knowing that I will never make something so perfect.

    9. As my background in literary analysis, as well as my knowledge of mythology and greek poetry is more than just meager, I'm sure a good deal of what Carson was trying to tell me went straight through my head, unnoticed. Nevertheless, reading about Eros, the indeed bittersweet has been one of the most enlightening rides in a long time. Carson isn't only impressively learned across a number of disciplines, but her writing -despite its academic packaging- is conveying a humane intimacy, a witty and [...]

    10. "It is arguable, then, from the way they wrote and the tools they used, that ancient readers and writers conceived the Greek alphabet as a system of outlines or edges. But let us penetrate beyond the physical procedure of their writing to the activity of mind that informs it. It is an activity of symbolization. Being a phonetic system, the Greek alphabet is concerned to symbolize not objects in the real world but the very process in which sounds act to construct speech. Phonetic script imitates [...]

    11. Do you know how what we call "love," came to be? Anne Carson does. She examines the nuances of love, through the lens of Greek fragments and culture. Her chapter titles: "Ruse," "Tactics," "The Reach," pars out the subtleties of desire with all its paradoxical underpinnings. If you've ever wondered if your lover was playing a "game," read this book to understand the impossibility and awesome responsibility for wanting what you want, denying it so you can eventually enjoy it, and where honesty tr [...]

    12. "För att hon, genom sin poesi, sina översättningar och studier, har återuppväckt Sapfo från de döda och införlivat henne i modern tid"- Svenska Akademiens nobelmotivering till Anne Carson, en inte alltför avlägsen framtid (?).

    13. 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? Wait let me look for it: "A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.") So I wanted more. More insight. More guides to the mysteries. But this book wasn't that. This book, instead of being a guide, instead of [...]

    14. “Eros is always a story in which lover, beloved and the difference between them interact. 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 must it be like to have Anne Carson’s mind? What does she think about while eating breakfast or tying her shoelaces? Perhaps eros and every shade of its meaning from Sappho to the [...]

    15. Ruth read this earlier and I decided to give it a go. And Ruth is right—it's a great book. I would add that if anyone is actually going to write about Heraclitus, as I would like to have happen, Anne Carson is the person to do it. For one thing, she spells the greek names with "k's" instead of "c's." This might seem pedantic, but when I thought about it, it made sense for two reasons. First, the ancient Greeks didn't have the letter "c." And second, Anne Carson devotes a great deal of thought [...]

    16. "Infants begin to see by noticing the edges of things. How do they know an edge is an edge? By passionately wanting it not to be. The experience of eros as lack alerts a person to the boundaries of himself, of other people, of things in generalIf we follow the trajectory of eros we consistently find it tracing out this same route: it moves out from the lover toward the beloved, then ricochets back to the lover himself and the hole in him, unnoticed before. Who is the real subject of most love po [...]

    17. 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 [...]

    18. Here are some things I learned while reading my bajillionth Anne Carson book: I don't understand love. Greek philosophy confuses me, but I love it. The chase really is better than the catch. Time is weird. I love love.

    19. bought at the strand and read in a bar on the lower east side when you could still smoke indoors and was I a smoker, fucking yes I was.

    20. I really enjoyed this book! I had read some of Carson's translations of Euripides (from her collection called Grief Lessons, which also features some really interesting but small commentary on, in the same vein as this book, the concepts of grief and rage in Greek tragedy) and thought they were pretty good and then I found this at one of my favorite bookstores in Astoria.First and foremost this book is about conceptually mapping eros and what it meant for the ancient Greeks. Carson's analysis is [...]

    21. "Eros is an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too,’ the absent presence of desire comes alive. 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 would dissolve that boundary, I r [...]

    22. I loved this book! I was repeatedly astounded by what I was reading! I expected some sort of disconnect due to the fact that basically all of my classics knowledge is Latin-based and not Greek. But it was all very direct and readable. As readable as Anne Carson usually is, anyway. But yeah, I loved this book very very very very much.

    23. What a fantastic treatise, what a fantastic mind Carson possesses. I slurped this book up and loved every second of reading it — infinitely resounding through my own experiences of Eros, insight after insight after insight, constant learned and unpretentious references to the classics — it was intensely good every step of the way. Recommend to everyone.

    24. El gesto del hombre es muy libre, muy calculado. Debería experimentarse el mismo impacto erótico que al principio. Ella aparece con el pelo despeinado como la víspera, en la cama. Se deja quitar la toca, se deja hacer, la víspera, el amor.Ella baja los ojos. Mueca incomprensible. Juega con algo que hay en el suelo.Levanta los ojos hacia él. Él dice con una lentitud enorme: me das muchas ganas de amar.Hiroshima Mon Amour, Marguerite DurasAdemás de poeta y traductora, Anne Carson también e [...]

    25. This is one of my favorite books by Anne Carson. I reread bits of it every fall when it comes time for me to teach the Greeks, especially during Sappho week. This year I reread it in its entirety and fell under its spell like never before. Her brand of poetic scholarship works its magic on me like few others, only Hugh Kenner's "The Pound Era" and Wyndham Lewis’ Villon come to mind. This time she sent me back to my Plato and I went through a whole Plato phase rereading the Phaedrus, the Lysis [...]

    26. There is something intoxicating about reading a scholar who brings erudition and poetic vision to a creative analysis of desire. This book, via a discussion of Sappho and other figures, proves a stunning, trans-textual analysis of variations on the constructions of amorous triangulation, whether that which is seen between three people entangled, viewers and lovers, or those triangulations created by either physical distance or prose via correspondence. It is an essay/adventure, which is deliriou [...]

    27. [Update] I'm re-reading it (as I hoped I would), and it is so interesting and provocative. I am understanding it differently than I did the first time through, moving all my old book darts to new locations. Anne Carson makes me feel so inadequately educated! I would love to study this book in a class that also covered the source material. Maybe I'd like to be a closet classicist. [Original] Extraordinary book, and one I'll be returning to again and again, I hope. Beautiful and provocative discus [...]

    28. Anne Carson seems to want to work in spaces between genres to create original work that blends different types of writing. Her publisher, Vintage, calls this piece an essay, but after reading it I consider it a treatise or study of desire as seen in classic Greek writings. Yet she also brings in philosophy, fiction and literature theory. The Greeks certainly dominate, but Carson also weaves in Virginia Woolf, Kafka, W.H. Auden and Kierkegaard. It's a fascinating, intelligent and well-researched [...]

    29. I didn't really like this book, I'm sorry to say. It's too academic and reminded me of everything I hated about college--interesting ideas that *seem* like they should be relevant to real life, but only some of which actually fit into my schema of the world, and even then only if angled in precisely the right way. They glint and glimmer and tease, but ultimately don't map onto any sort of reality that I know. The book has its moments, but it's very, very dense.

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