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Essays in Love - Alain de Botton

Paperback

Published: March 2006
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Essays in Love is a stunningly original love story.

Taking in Aristotle, Wittgenstein, history, religion and Groucho Marx, Alain de Botton charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak.

Essays in Love is a wholly modern attempt to define the age-old dilemmas of the heart.

"What a refreshing change from much contemporary fiction" (Evening Standard)

"A dazzlingly original, erudite and witty journey through all the vagaries of romantic love" (Josephine Hart)

Alain De Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of The Romantic Movement, Kiss and Tell, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and Status Anxiety . His work is translated into 20 languages. He lives in London.

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Essays in Love
 
4.5

(based on 2 reviews)

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5.0

Such an honest observer of humanity

By Poppet

from Canberra

About Me Everyday Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift
    • Older Readers

    Comments about Essays in Love:

    This is a great read. Using his own life and love affairs threading in the philosophers, Botton writes a compelling, thoughtful and important narrative on love, romance and loss.

    Comment on this review

     
    4.0

    I recommend this author

    By Jen

    from Sydney, Australia

    About Me Bookworm

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Deserves Multiple Readings
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Essays in Love:

        Perfect service - really impressed!

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        "Imagine, of all impossible things, a young British Woody Allen with the benefit of a classical education and you have the nameless and exquisitely erudite narrator of Essays in Love."
        -- "Boston Sunday Globe"
        "The book's success has much to do with its beautifully modeled sentences, its wry humor, its unwavering deadpan respect for its reader's intelligence." -- Francine Prose in "The New Republic"

        Romantic fatalismp. 1
        Idealizationp. 11
        The subtext of seductionp. 17
        Authenticityp. 26
        Mind and bodyp. 36
        Marxismp. 41
        False notesp. 52
        Love or liberalismp. 63
        Beautyp. 72
        Speaking lovep. 78
        What do you see in her?p. 87
        Scepticism and faithp. 95
        Intimacyp. 99
        'I'-confirmationp. 107
        Intermittences of the heartp. 119
        The fear of happinessp. 132
        Contractionsp. 143
        Romantic terrorismp. 154
        Beyond good and evilp. 165
        Psycho-fatalismp. 177
        Suicidep. 182
        The Jesus complexp. 188
        Ellipsisp. 195
        Love lessonsp. 201
        Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

        ISBN: 9780330440783
        ISBN-10: 0330440780
        Audience: General
        Format: Paperback
        Language: English
        Number Of Pages: 224
        Published: March 2006
        Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0  x 1.5
        Weight (kg): 0.17

        Alain de Botton

        Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. He is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a 'philosophy of everyday life. He’s written on love, travel, architecture and literature. His books have been bestsellers in 30 countries. Alain also started and helps to run a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education. Alain’s newest book is published in April 2009 and is titled The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

        Alain started writing at a young age. His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], was published when he was twenty-three. It minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love, in a style that mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non-fiction. It's a book of which many readers are still fondest and it has sold two million copies worldwide.

        It was with How Proust can change your Life that Alain's work reached a truly global audience. The book was a particular success in the United States, where the mixture of an ironic 'self-help' envelope and an analysis of one of the most revered but unread books in the Western canon struck a chord. It was followed by The Consolations of Philosophy, to which it was in many ways an accompaniment. Though sometimes described as popularisations, these two books were at heart attempts to develop original ideas (about, for example, friendship, art, envy, desire and inadequacy) with the help of the thoughts from other thinkers – an approach that would have been familiar to writers like Seneca or Montaigne and that disappeared only with the growing professionalisation of scholarship in the 19th century.

        Alain then returned to a more lyrical, personal style of writing. In The Art of Travel, he looked at themes in the psychology of travel: how we imagine places before we have seen them, how we remember beautiful things, what happens to us when we look at deserts, or stay in hotels or go to the countryside. In Status Anxiety, he examined an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned directly: the anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we're judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. In The Architecture of Happiness, Alain discussed questions of beauty and ugliness in architecture. Much of the book was written at de Botton's home in West London, just near Shepherd's Bush roundabout, one of the uglier man-made places, which nevertheless provided helpful examples of how important it is to get architecture right.

        The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work saw Alain travelling across the world for two years with a photographer in tow, looking at people in their workplaces and reflecting on the great themes of work: why do we do it? How can it be more bearable? What is a meaningful life? The book is at once lyrical and gripping like a novel can be, and yet also packed with ideas and analysis.

        In the summer of 2009, Alain was appointed Heathrow's first Writer-in-Residence and wrote a book about his experiences, A Week at the Airport

        Aside from writing, de Botton has been involved in making a number of television documentaries - and now helps to run a production company, Seneca Productions.

        In the summer of 2008, Alain realised a life-long dream when he helped to launch a miniature 'university' called The School of Life - which emulates the spirit of enquiry and playfulness found in his books and which aims not only to discuss life, but also change it for the better. Following on in this entrepreneurial vein, Alain has also helped to start a new organisation called Living Architecture which is building world-class modern architecture for rental around the UK. In 2009, Alain was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, in recognition of his services to architecture.



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